Fashion Metropolis Berlin 1836 - 1939: The Story of the Rise and Destruction of the Jewish Fashion Industry
By Uwe Westphal
Why this book?
Uwe Westphal has spent many years researching and writing about the Jewish contribution to the Berlin fashion industry between 1836 - 1939. This is a story that has never been told before. Jewish entrepreneurs invented ready-to-wear, mass-produced, fashionable clothing. By the early 1900s, Berlin was the hub of world fashion with the majority of clothing firms being Jewish-owned. In 1933 the Nazis swiftly foreclosed and “Aryanized” these businesses and their owners fled into exile or were murdered. After 1945, the now non-Jewish fashion firms, which had taken over their predecessors’ companies, enjoyed a tremendous increase in worldwide sales due to the glaring absence of their pre-war Jewish competitors. But the sophistication of the Jewish designers was gone. Today’s German fashion industry is a long way from recovering its former international status.
This book enables the reader to appreciate the immense loss of Jewish talent wrought by the Nazis. Westphal’s archival collection has enabled him to assist families to pursue restitution and compensation cases in court. He remains committed to preserving the memory of the Jewish German garment trade while valiantly exposing the German fashion industry’s abject failure to honor their Jewish forebears’ contribution. The book has 150 photos and archival documents, many of which have never been seen before.
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