“Für die Falaschas”: Das Internationale »Pro-Falascha-Comité« in Deutschland
The activities of the German branch of the International Pro-Falasha Committee before World War I are quite unknown. A twofold document from 1914, a circular letter, asking the German Jewry for assistance for the Falasha, and the attached membership-list are considered. The article tries to explore the reasons, why such a Jewish association was established, and why at that time. It also focusses on the motivations of the German participants, their social and academic backgrounds and their networking. Fitting well into the then vivid “Jewish renaissance”, the image of an untouched Jewry, surviving in Ethiopia from pre-rabbinical times on, may then have fulfilled multiple purposes for the Europeans: Rescuing brethren abroad – by the idea of Jewish self-help and Jewish faith, all together combined with a belief in European superiority –, rejection of Christian missionary efforts, self-assertion and resistance against the Christian majority, and the sharpening of an unique Jewish identity.