This is a study of how the Jewish community of Breslau--the third largest and one of the most affluent in Germany--coped with Nazi persecution. Ascher has included the experiences of his immediate family, although the book is based mainly on archival sources, numerous personal reminiscences, as well as publications by the Jewish community in the 1930s. It is the first comprehensive study of a local Jewish community in Germany under Nazi rule. Until the very end, the Breslau Jews maintained a stance of defiance and sought to persevere as a cohesive group with its own institutions. They categorically denied the Nazi claim that they were not genuine Germans, but at the same time they also refused to abandon their Jewish heritage. They created a new school for the children evicted from public schools, established a variety of new cultural institutions, placed new emphasis on religious observance, maintained the Jewish hospital against all odds, and, perhaps most remarkably, increased the range of welfare services, which were desperately needed as more and more of their number lost their livelihood. In short, the Jews of Breslau refused to abandon either their institutions or the values that they had nurtured for decades. In the end, it was of no avail as the Nazis used their overwhelming power to liquidate the community by force.
Jews and Germans is the only book in English to delve fully into the history and challenges of the German-Jewish relationship, from before the Holocaust to the present day. The Weimar Republic era—the fifteen years between Germany’s defeat in World War I (1918) and Hitler’s accession (1933)—has been characterized as a time of unparalleled German-Jewish concord and collaboration. Even though Jews constituted less than 1 percent of the German population, they occupied a significant place in German literature, music, theater, journalism, science, and many other fields. Was that German-Jewish relationship truly reciprocal? How has it evolved since the Holocaust, and what can it become? Beginning with the German Jews’ struggle for emancipation, Guenter Lewy describes Jewish life during the heyday of the Weimar Republic, particularly the Jewish writers, left-wing intellectuals, combat veterans, and adult and youth organizations. With this history as a backdrop he examines the deeply disparate responses among Jews when the Nazis assumed power. Lewy then elucidates Jewish life in postwar West Germany; in East Germany, where Jewish communists searched for a second German-Jewish symbiosis based on Marxist principles; and finally in the united Germany—illuminating the complexities of fraught relationships over time.
From the very moment of the liberation of camps at Auschwitz, Belsen and Buchenwald, Germans have been held accountable for the crimes committed in the Holocaust. The Nazi regime unleashed the most systematic attempt in history to wipe out an entire people, murdering men, women and children for the simple 'crime' of being Jewish. After the war ended in 1945, the Jewish State of Israel was created and Jewish communities were re-established in a now divided Germany. Germans have engaged actively with their Nazi legacy and the Jewish communities have remained and grown stronger, but neo-Nazism has also persisted. Young Germans have learned the horrific deeds of the past at school, and throughout the world, people of all nations have tried to learn the lesson 'never again', while Germany has become 'Israel's best friend in Europe'. Pól Ó Dochartaigh analyses the ways in which Germans and Jews alike have attempted to come to terms with the Holocaust and its terrible legacy. He also looks at efforts to remember – and to forget – the Holocaust, movement towards recompense and reparation, and the survival of anti-Semitism.
This volume contains some 46 essays on various aspects of contemporary German-Jewish literature. The approaches are diverse, reflecting the international origins of the contributors, who are based in seventeen different countries. Holocaust literature is just one theme in this context; others are memory, identity, Christian-Jewish relations, anti-Zionism, la belle juive, and more. Prose, poetry and drama are all represented, and there is a major debate on the controversial attempt to stage Fassbinder's Der Müll, die Stadt und der Tod in 1985. The overall approach of the volume is an inclusive one. In his introduction, the editor calls for a reappraisal of the terms of German-Jewish discourse away from the notion of 'Germans' and 'Jews' and towards the idea that both Jews and non-Jews, all of them Germans, have contributed to the corpus of 'German-Jewish literature'.
For many centuries Jews and Germans were economically and culturally of significant importance in East-Central and Eastern Europe. Since both groups had a very similar background of origin (Central Europe) and spoke languages which are related to each other (German/Yiddish), the question arises to what extent Jews and Germans in Eastern Europe share common historical developments and experiences. This volume aims to explore not only entanglements and interdependences of Jews and Germans in Eastern Europe from the late middle ages to the 20th century, but also comparative aspects of these two communities. Moreover, the perception of Jews as Germans in this region is also discussed in detail.
Based on more than thirty years archival research, this history of the Jewish and German-Jewish community of Hamburg is a unique and vivid piece of work by one of the leading historians of the twentieth century. The history of the Holocaust here is fully integrated into the full history of the Jewish community in Hamburg from the late eighteenth century onwards. J.A.S. Grenville draws on a vast quantity of diaries, letters and records to provide a macro level history of Hamburg interspersed with many personal stories that bring it vividly to life. In the concluding chapter the discussion is widened to talk about Hamburg as a case study in the wider world. This book will be a key work in European history, charting and explaining the complexities of how a long established and well integrated German-Jewish community became, within the space of a generation, victims of the Nazi Holocaust.
From the seventeenth century until the Holocaust, Germany's Jews lurched between progress and setback, between fortune and terrible misfortune. German society shunned Jews in the eighteenth century and opened unevenly to them in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, only to turn murderous in the Nazi era. By examining the everyday lives of ordinary Jews, this book portrays the drama of German-Jewish history -- the gradual ascent of Jews from impoverished outcasts to comfortable bourgeois citizens and then their dramatic descent into genocidal torment during the Nazi years. Building on social, economic, religious, and political history, it focuses on the qualitative aspects of ordinary life -- emotions, subjective impressions, and quotidian perceptions. How did ordinary Jews and their families make sense of their world? How did they construe changes brought about by industrialization? How did they make decisions to enter new professions or stick with the old, juggle traditional mores with contemporary ways? The Jewish adoption of secular, modern European culture and the struggle for legal equality exacted profound costs, both material and psychological. Even in the heady years of progress, a basic insecurity informed German-Jewish life. Jewish successes existed alongside an antisemitism that persisted as a frightful leitmotif throughout German-Jewish history. And yet the history that emerges from these pages belies simplistic interpretations that German antisemitism followed a straight path from Luther to Hitler. Neither Germans nor Jews can be typecast in their roles vis ? vis one another. Non-Jews were not uniformly antisemitic but exhibited a wide range of attitudes towards Jews. Jewish daily life thus provides another vantage point from which to study the social life of Germany. Focusing on both internal Jewish life -- family, religion, culture and Jewish community -- and the external world of German culture and society provides a uniquely well-rounded portrait of a world defined by the shifting sands of inclusion and exclusion.
The author, a German living in the USA, analyzes the guilt, anger, embarrassment, shame and anxiety experienced by third-generation Jews and Germans, and attempts to describe the processes by which these grandchildren of the Holocaust have moved towards a better relationship.
In the immediate aftermath of World War II, more than a quarter million Jewish survivors of the Holocaust lived among their defeated persecutors in the chaotic society of Allied-occupied Germany. Jews, Germans, and Allies draws upon the wealth of diary and memoir literature by the people who lived through postwar reconstruction to trace the conflicting ways Jews and Germans defined their own victimization and survival, comprehended the trauma of war and genocide, and struggled to rebuild their lives. In gripping and unforgettable detail, Atina Grossmann describes Berlin in the days following Germany's surrender--the mass rape of German women by the Red Army, the liberated slave laborers and homecoming soldiers, returning political exiles, Jews emerging from hiding, and ethnic German refugees fleeing the East. She chronicles the hunger, disease, and homelessness, the fraternization with Allied occupiers, and the complexities of navigating a world where the commonplace mingled with the horrific. Grossmann untangles the stories of Jewish survivors inside and outside the displaced-persons camps of the American zone as they built families and reconstructed identities while awaiting emigration to Palestine or the United States. She examines how Germans and Jews interacted and competed for Allied favor, benefits, and victim status, and how they sought to restore normality--in work, in their relationships, and in their everyday encounters. Jews, Germans, and Allies shows how Jews were integral participants in postwar Germany and bridges the divide that still exists today between German history and Jewish studies.
DIVShares the life experiences of the children of 4 siblings who out of eight siblings, parents and grandparents, survived the Holocaust. It explores the ways in which these children from the same socio-cultural background have built diverse lives in German/div