On the Margins. Jews and Muslims in Interwar Berlin
Leiden: E.J. Brill Expected date of publication: January 2020
Photograph: The Mosque Hiking Club in Berlin-Grunewald (1935). (copyright Suhail Ahmad, Woking)
On the Margins addresses Jews and Muslims in interwar Berlin who created a leeway to interact. Over a period of not yet 20 years, a web of interrelated contacts allowed these people to explore the potential of a common network that included friends, neighbours, business partners, and lovers. German politics set the switches for their encounter, while the urban setting of Western Berlin offered them a unique contact zone. Although initial meetings often occurred in fleeting contexts, a number of Indian missions in Berlin served as a crystallization point, not least because the Indian message of a united, freer humanity spoke the Jewish minority from the heart. During the research a number of stories surfaced, revealing the help Egyptians, Persians and Indians gave to Jews during Nazi persecution. It tells us that their points of interconnection based on solidarity and the wish for continuity. Five case studies approach the encounter from different perspectives, juxtaposing male and female views, and visions of global equality with down-to-earth personal networks. The case studies explore the spaces in between that allowed the protagonists to re-create their lives together. Presenting unique source materials that were never used before, the study opens up a novel view on Muslims and Jews in the 20. Century.