Uwe Westphal on Rise and Destruction of Berlin's Jewish-Dominated Fashion Industry, April 13

Uwe Westphal on Rise and Destruction of Berlin's Jewish-Dominated Fashion Industry, April 13

Presented by The Bennett Center for Judaic Studies, Uwe Westphal will present the Joan and Henry Katz Lecture in Judaic Studies.

On Tuesday, April 13 at 7:30 p.m. journalist and author Uwe Westphal will deliver the Joan and Henry Katz Lecture in Judaic Studies from his home in Berlin, Germany. This virtual lecture is free and open to the public, and will be delivered as a Zoom webinar. Register to attend at fairfield.edu/bennettprograms

During the early 20th century, 78 percent of the fashion houses in Berlin were owned by Jewish business owners who exported their high-end garments internationally. Their world-renowned fashions influenced the arts, theater, and films; movie stars like Marlene Dietrich helped to promote the styles they created.

Following the rise of the Nazi party in 1933, most of these Berlin Jewish fashion companies were confiscated and Aryanized. Some department store owners and designers found safety in the United States, while thousands of seamstresses and many designers and gallery owners were eventually imprisoned and murdered. According to Westphal, a "wall of silence" in the German fashion industry regarding the impact of Nazism on modern fashion still exists today.

Based on his book, Westphal’s lecture, "The Rise and Destruction of the Jewish Fashion Industry, Berlin 1836 – 1939," will examine Jewish participation in Berlin’s fashion industry and how Nazi loyalists within the industry contributed to the Holocaust.

“Uwe Westphal’s study of the Jewish fashion industry in Berlin in the 19th and early 20th centuries sheds new light on the important contributions made by Jewish designers and department store owners to modern fashion,” said Ellen M. Umansky, PhD, director of Fairfield University’s Bennett Center for Judaic Studies. “It also reveals when and why this industry came to an end. Westphal’s talk promises to be both eye-opening and engaging.”  

Westphal is an author residing in Berlin and London. He has worked for the international PEN association of writers, and as a journalist and producer for PBS and CBS in New York. He is the author of four history books about the Third Reich, numerous essays, and articles in the United Kingdom and Germany. His work has also appeared on Radio 4 and BBC.

The April 13 lecture will be held online with a pre-recorded, illustrated talk and a live Q&A with Uwe Westphal. To register, visit fairfield.edu/bennettprograms. For general questions contact the Bennett Center for Judaic Studies at bennettcenter@fairfield.edu or 203-254-4000 ext. 2066.

Uwe Westphal: "The Rise and Destruction of the Jewish Fashion Industry, Berlin 1836 – 1939"

Date: Tuesday, April 13, 2021
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Virtual Lecture

Additional Details:

The April 13 lecture will be held online and is free and open to the public. To register, visit fairfield.edu/bennettprograms. For general questions contact the Bennett Center for Judaic Studies at bennettcenter@fairfield.edu or 203-254-4000 ext. 2066.

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Last modified: 04-01-21 9:42 AM

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