Ilse's attitudes reflected the times

Film still from The Golem: How He Came Into the World (1920)

Ilse's attitudes reflected the times

Ilse's marriage to a Jewish bridegroom in the circumstances prevailing in Germany in 1933 seemed a paradox. She was herself innately intolerant, and she had the additional misfortune to be of a generation brought up with prevailing racist attitudes.

In capricious moments, she would sometimes let slip an anti-Semitic remark. Indeed, more than once she admitted, albeit sheepishly, to being anti-Semitic. But, then, so was everyone in her circle in those days. 

Yet at the same time, she felt entirely comfortable among the Jews she knew and very much enjoyed their cultured and cultivated company. She found them to be principled people who behaved decently, the very antithesis of anti-Semite's stereotypical view.

But was it really such a paradox? Gerhard and his family were not in the least religiously observant. The religion as such meant nothing to any of the Lewis. If anything, they saw in it a hypocrisy with their embrace of German values and identity. 

Ilse's Lutheran family, too, were not religiously inclined.