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Bertha Pappenheim: Her Life, Her Achievement.

Germany has been synonymous with the Jewish persecution especially during the Second World War. In an effort to detach itself from its grave past and a complete disengagement from Nazi ideologies, the German government is embarking on the issuance of postal stamps in an effort to honor Jews. The Jews who are predominantly honored in these postage stamps are those deemed as heroes especially during the Second World War. One of the stamps spots the image of the renowned scientist, Paul Ehhrlich (1854-1915), the second one is of the image of the popular rabbi, Leo Baeck while a third one consists of the portrait of a Jewish woman by the name, Bertha Pappenheim (1859-1936).

The choice taken by the German government in honoring her is perplexing and raises eyebrows. This is because it is deemed that there are other more famous and significant Jewish women who were perceived to have had more considerable contributions to German life than Bertha Pappenheim. There are more popular Jewish women such as the women of the salons and the family of the daughters of Moses Mendelssohn. These women, who are not linked to the historical societies, established meeting grounds for the pioneering of very intelligent minds that formed a new society, bourgeois, bohemian and to a certain extent feudal.

Little is known of the contributions made by the following generation of Jewish women hailing from Germany. These women are known to have been less intellectually brilliant with little or no achievement in comparison to other people. These women were known to be feminists in accordance with the German social and political culture. They predominantly believed in the relationship between the social problems plaguing the German societies or the industrial age with the feminist goals. These women were of the belief that women had the same ability to serve in the same capacities such as their male counterparts in the social, political, academic or any facet of human life.

Some of the women are known to have kept ties with their Jewish past while others had detached themselves from their Jewish past. However, during their social life, their Jewish affiliation created a conflict with those who were opposed to the liberation of women and the equality of minorities. Henriette Goldschidt, who lived from the year 1829 until her untimely death in the year 1920, a rabbi’s wife, was known to be one of the pioneering mothers of the popular German feminist movement. Another woman by the name Lina Morgenstern who lived between the years 1830-1809, was the first to design and organize the german housewives. Fanny Lewald who lived from the year 1811 to 1889, was a powerful advocate for the women’s rights. This is just to mention a few of the women who were dedicated to the emancipation of women living in Germany and the rest of the world. They were of the belief of gender equality, a notion that was very unpopular and was met with much resistance during the time (Brentzel, 457).

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