Abstract

This contribution sheds light on the Alliance israélite universelle, long considered a French Jewish philanthropic organization. The author demonstrates that in many respects, at least until World War I, this organization was transnational, or at least Franco-German. Indeed, Germany became the country where the Alliance counted the most members. If certain German members envisioned creating an Alliance Israelite in Germany, these separatist proposals were rejected, often in the name of the Alliance’s universalist character. As a result, in 1911, the Alliance had 343 local committees in Germany, whereas it had only 53 in France. According to the author, this success can be explained by the Alliance’s transnational character. Participating in the activities of the Alliance allowed German Jews, more religiously divided than their French counterparts, to aspire to a certain unity.