Jewish Migration and Urban Materiality in
the 20th Century

Online Symposium
September 1, 2021

Awaiting the European Association of Urban History’s in-person conference next year, this symposium gathers participants from the forthcoming conference panel on “Jewish Migrations and their Effect on Modern Urban Cultures” to explore the relationship between Jewish migration and urban materiality in the 20th century. 

At the edge of modernity, the mobility of Jews characterized metropolises. Jewish migrants arrived in metropolises, formed new communities, and performed new lifestyles, professions, etc. Altogether, this new quality of mobility contributed to the cities’ development of pluricultural surroundings in which new spaces for Jewish life and Jewish/non-Jewish relations emerged. What effect did Jewish migration have on local, urban environments?


The – on the surface, paradox – relationship between migration and materiality seems specifically fruitful to pursue to understand the role of Jewish migrations and their effect on modern, urban cultures. What happened to concrete constructions and public spaces in cities when Jews – and their ideas, languages, and rituals – arrived? How did the Jewish migrational experience influence local settings, and what role did migration play in their relationship to the physicality of the cities? The five presenters will together explore how the material reality of the arriving city influenced Jewish migrants, and – more importantly – how Jewish migrants used concrete structures to respond to and shape their new environment. 



9.00-9.10: Welcome

9.10-9.50: Ruthie Kaplan (University of Haifa) – “Living a daily Jewish life – the Jewish living area in 19th and 20th centuries Lódz”

9.50-10.30: Lena Lorenz (Bauhaus University Weimar) – “Reading Jerusalem Street – a cross section through the History of Haifa”

10.30-10.50: Break

10.50-11.30: William Pimlott (UCL) – “London's Yiddish Spatial Politics 1896-1908”

11.30-12.10: Mia Löwengart Kuritzén (Uppsala University) – “Why Jews became central to the transformation of Stockholm into a modern capital, 1860s-1920s”

12.10-13.00: Lunch

13.00-13.40: Anna Michaelis (University of Duisburg-Essen) – “German-Jewish Welfare Activities towards Jewish migrants from Eastern Europe – Shaping Urban Space between 1890 and 1917”

13.40-14.00: Conclusion

To attend the symposium and join the discussion, please email 

before August 27, 2021. The zoom link will be distributed via email the day before the event.


Dr Maja Hultman, Centre for European Research/Department of Historical Studies at University of Gothenburg

Dr Susanne Korbel, Center for Jewish Studies at University of Graz