Homemaking as Home-in-the-Making. Practice, Discourse, and Memory of German-Jewish Homemaking in Emigration
Migration challenges the very notion of the sedentary home. Immigrants lose their old homeland as well as physical home. In making a new place their home, economic production and domestic reproduction are equally crucial. Homemaking in the migrant home, that is, conducting unpaid domestic chores, is not only significant because it serves essential human needs. It is also imbued with emotional, social, and religious meaning. After the National Socialist rise to power in 1933, German Jews sought to find new homelands on many continents. The women among them were assigned the task of homemaking and thus also creating a new home-in-the-making. This study explores the nexus of home and migration through a transnational comparison of Jewish housework in Mandate Palestine, the US, and the UK. It will engage with questions of gender, migration, class, and everyday life, linking the levels of practice, discourse, policies, and memory. Through a focus on homemaking, my research will question the notion of the immigrant’s home as an idealized shelter while revealing it to be rather a place of conflict and renegotiation.