Presentation of my Researsh Projekt about Jews Baptized in Sweden 1782-1870

The Swedish Jewry has for over 200 years been a clearly noticeable minority in society, whether the environment have treated them with benevolence, discriminated, marginalized or exerted a pressure of assimilation. Jews have sought strategies for integration and adaptation while they simultaneous have attempted to maintain their Jewish identity. But despite their desire for cultural and religious survival, individuals continually have left the Jewish community by crossing the denominational and the social boundaries through conversion to Christianity. A baptism can be an expression a religious conviction but also a desire for participation in the society since conversion for a Jew around the turn of 1800 was the only possibility to Swedish citizenship and equal rights. There is a wide interest among European historians about these issues but in Swedish research have so far practically ignored the subject.

This project aims to describe and analyze Jewish assimilation and integration processes, through a social- and cultural-historical study of Jewish conversion, from 1782 to 1870. On the basis of a demographic and socio-economic method the Jews who converted are surveyed, their gender, age and socioeconomic background, the motives behind their decision and how the Jewish community was dealing with the conversions. At the same time attention is focused on the majority society and the Swedish Lutheran Church, how baptisms of Jews were handled, different attitudes and reactions.