Young, German and Jewish

Published on March 7, 2021 by

“We’re not aliens!” say young German Jews. They want to be seen as normal young people. But even in 2021, fitting into German society doesn’t come easily.

What does it mean to be the only Jew in the whole school? This is a film about dealing with clichés and stereotypes in everyday life, from the sports field to the synagogue, from the Torah to Instagram, from Shabbat to parties.

In German schools, calling someone a Jew is a common slur. For young German Jews, anti-Semitic phrases, jokes and prejudices are part of everyday life. It’s a sad truth that they often can’t wear their kippah or Star of David necklace openly, for fear of abuse or assault.

At the same time, they want to escape the label of victim. Ilan (20) says: “For many people we are a marginalized group that’s always being insulted. But it’s wrong to reduce us to that.” Paula (12) adds: “Yes, I wish we wouldn’t get funny looks all the time.”

This documentary shows the young and vibrant Jewish culture in Germany today. As different as young Jewish people are in their religious beliefs, interests and talents, they all have one thing in common. None of them want to only be seen as what Roman (19) calls a “museum piece,” but as active young people who live in the here and now.

This documentary dispenses with commentary and listens to the voices of young Jews between the ages of 12 and 25, whom filmmaker Jan Tenhaven met in Berlin, Frankfurt, Osnabrück, Essen, Munich and Wessling. The conversations are interspersed with reports of anti-Semitic incidents.


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