Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Questions for Curatorial: German Populations

Curatorial Director Dave answers your questions.

What percentage of Kleindeutschland’s German immigrant population was Jewish during the mid-to-late 19th century?

Kleindeutschland was a collection of ethnic groups as diverse and independent as the German states themselves. Its inhabitants thought of themselves as Bavarians, Prussians, or Saxons, before they thought of themselves as Germans, even after German unification in 1871. Many dialects could be heard in the streets of Kleindeutschland and its residents practiced a variety of regional customs.

In 1860, the Bavarians dominated the city, but by 1880 the Prussians were the largest German nationality in New York. German Jews, while always a minority, made up roughly 20% of New York's German-American population by the 1880s.

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