Differences in attitude

Hermann and Elly Ringel dressed to the nines

As we’ve seen, the marriage of Hermann and Elly joined the Ringel and Wohlgemuth families first in Weissensee and then in Charlottenburg. In one generation, Hermann had made the journey from the shtetl-like Scheunenviertel of his youth to the toniest districts of respectable Jewish society. In business, he had risen in status above his father’s role as a  trader in the markets to become a registered merchant, a manufacturer and wholesaler of ready-made clothing. 

Differences in Hermann’s and Elly’s family backgrounds were reflected in their differing interests and even values. Hermann identified more as Jewish and attended the Orthodox synagogue on Pestalozzistraße, just a few blocks from the family’s spacious apartment at Schlutterstraße 12. When Elly went to synagogue, which was rarely, she went to a liberal congregation. 

Hermann took a particular interest in Zionism and its ideal of a national homeland in Palestine. As much as he appreciated his status as a Jew in Germany, he believed in the vision of the Jewish people reclaiming their historic homeland. He himself might be too old and settled in his life to become a pioneer in Palestine, but he believed in the idea and supported Zionist organizations. 

Of course, Elly had little patience for talk of Palestine and Zionism. She was raised to appreciate the luxuries of life and had no interest at all in ever living in an underdeveloped country in the desert. Both Hermann and Elly enjoyed vacationing in Germany’s mountain resorts and spas, but Elly went for the baths and nightlife while Hermann liked rugged hikes and physical culture.