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Jewish Life in Nazi Germany

Jewish Life in Nazi Germany: Dilemmas and Responses

Francis R. Nicosia
David Scrase
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Jewish Life in Nazi Germany
    Book Description:

    German Jews faced harsh dilemmas in their responses to Nazi persecution, partly a result of Nazi cruelty and brutality but also a result of an understanding of their history and rightful place in Germany. This volume addresses the impact of the anti-Jewish policies of Hitler's regime on Jewish family life, Jewish women, and the existence of Jewish organizations and institutions and considers some of the Jewish responses to Nazi anti-Semitism and persecution. This volume offers scholars, students, and interested readers a highly accessible but focused introduction to Jewish life under National Socialism, the often painful dilemmas that it produced, and the varied Jewish responses to those dilemmas.

    eISBN: 978-1-84545-979-6
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. List of Illustrations
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  6. Introduction: Jewish Life in Nazi Germany: Dilemmas and Responses
    (pp. 1-14)
    Francis R. Nicosia

    During a visit to Berlin and Prague in February 1939, Georg Landauer, Director of the Central Bureau for the Settlement of German Jews in Palestine in Jerusalem, wrote a long letter to Arthur Ruppin, his colleague at the Central Bureau in Palestine. Landauer, a German Zionist leader before his own emigration from Germany to Palestine in 1933, was in Berlin and Prague to assess the Jewish emigration process. In his letter, dated 17 February from Berlin (but likely sent from Prague), Landauer describes the situation as bleak for Jews in Berlin and the rest of Germany.¹ The destruction of a...

  7. Chapter One Changing Roles in Jewish Families
    (pp. 15-46)
    Marion Kaplan

    Having acquired full citizenship and middle-class status in the latter part of the nineteenth century, most of Germany’s Jews felt comfortable and safe enough to consider Germany theirHeimat, or home. They married, or intermarried, in Germany, built their businesses or careers there, sent their children to its excellent public schools, and planned their families’ futures in Germany. The Nazi onslaught against their rights, their livelihoods, and their social interactions with other Germans staggered them. Their normal lives and expectations overturned, Jewish families embarked on new paths and embraced new strategies that they would never have entertained in ordinary times....

  8. Chapter Two Evading Persecution: German-Jewish Behavior Patterns after 1933
    (pp. 47-70)
    Jürgen Matthäus

    After the Holocaust, the question of Jewish agency has been more the subject of public debate than of in-depth analysis.¹ In the past, the extremes dominated this debate. After her idea of the “banality of evil,” Hannah Arendt is best known for her polemic against leaders of the German-Jewish community, especially Rabbi Leo Baeck, going so far as calling him “the JewishFührer”—a charge she later withdrew.² Dozens of books have been written to refute the stereotypical yet persistent assumption that Jews had gone “like sheep to the slaughter.”³ However, the more these works focus on one aspect, usually...

  9. Chapter Three Jewish Self-Help in Nazi Germany, 1933–1939: The Dilemmas of Cooperation
    (pp. 71-88)
    Avraham Barkai

    The accent on cooperation is almost self-evident for a symposium at the Carolyn and Leonard Miller Center for Holocaust Studies of the University of Vermont. The Center was established to honor Raul Hilberg, one of the earliest and most outstanding scholars of the Holocaust. In his opus magnum of 1961, as well as in its revised and enlarged later editions, Hilberg describes the role of Jewish leadership, including that occurring in prewar Germany, in quite critical terms. He carefully traces the central body of Jewish leadership in Germany and its changing structure and functions between 1933 and 1939, as it...

  10. Chapter Four German Zionism and Jewish Life in Nazi Berlin
    (pp. 89-116)
    Francis R. Nicosia

    There is general agreement about the decisive role that the Jews of Berlin played in the economic and cultural life of the city during the age of Jewish emancipation. Indeed, without them it seems unlikely that Berlin would have become a major world city in such a short period of time. As Peter Gay has observed in his memoir, “Berlin’s Jews … helped to shape its [Berlin’s] culture, far out of proportion to their numbers, as scientists, historians, poets, musicians, editors, critics, lawyers, physicians, art dealers, munificent collectors, and donors to museums.”¹ And, in his recently published autobiography, the late...

  11. Chapter Five Without Neighbors: Daily Living in Judenhäuser
    (pp. 117-148)
    Konrad Kwiet

    Neighbors in the Polish village of Jedwabne slaughtered hundreds of Jews in July 1941 before Nazi killers arrived to wipe out the Jewish community.² Such neighbors did not exist in Germany, not even in November 1938, when the inflamed “wrath of the people” vented itself in a bloody pogrom commonly known asReichskristallnacht(Reich Crystal Night, or Night of Broken Glass). While some neighbors criticized the destruction of property or complained about “illegal” excesses, only a few had the courage or inclination to support or help the persecuted.

    In 1933, the new Nazi racial state had entrusted officials with the...

  12. Chapter Six Between Self-Assertion and Forced Collaboration: The Reich Association of Jews in Germany, 1939–1945
    (pp. 149-169)
    Beate Meyer

    In July 1945, the Chief of Police of Greater Berlin dissolved the Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland (Reich Association of Jews in Germany).¹ Berlin Jews, who had survived the Holocaust, reported to the Soviet occupation authorities and denounced the last head of the organization, Walter Lustig, as a Nazi collaborator. Lustig was arrested by Soviet soldiers and killed.² In September 1945, the Allied Control Commission outlawed all Nazi organizations, including the Reichsvereinigung.³ Thus, with the end of the Third Reich, the last remaining Jewish organization in Germany was banned as a Nazi institution.

    This ban marked the end of the...

  13. Chapter Seven Jewish Culture in a Modern Ghetto: Theater and Scholarship Among the Jews of Nazi Germany
    (pp. 170-184)
    Michael Brenner

    Just a few weeks after the Nazis had come to power, an impressive call for tolerance and an appeal to grant Jews equal rights could be heard on a Berlin stage. Those demands stemmed from the pen of a non-Jewish German, a true “Aryan” in the Nazi definition. He could hardly be dismissed, for he was one of Germany’s greatest writers and philosophers—and he had been dead for 150 years. The capital of the new Nazi state must have been a rather awkward stage for Gotthold Ephraim Lessing’s enlightened playNathan der Weise(Nathan the Wise). It was hardly...

  14. Appendix A Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service, 7 April 1933
    (pp. 185-186)
  15. Appendix B Proclamation of the (New) Reichsvertretung der Deutschen Juden, September 1933
    (pp. 187-189)
  16. Appendix C American Jewish Committee, “The Situation of the Jews in Germany,” 1 March 1935
    (pp. 190-194)
  17. Appendix D Reich Citizenship Law, 15 September 1935
    (pp. 195-196)
  18. Appendix E Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor, 15 September 1935
    (pp. 197-199)
  19. Appendix F American Jewish Committee, “The Jews in Germany Today,” 1 June 1937
    (pp. 200-207)
  20. Appendix G Letter from Georg Landauer to Martin Rosenblüth, 8 February 1938
    (pp. 208-208)
  21. Appendix H Law Concerning the Legal Status of the Jewish Religious Communities, 28 March 1938
    (pp. 209-210)
  22. Appendix I Regulation for the Elimination of the Jews from the Economic Life of Germany, 12 November 1938
    (pp. 211-212)
  23. Appendix J Establishment of the Reich Central Office for Jewish Emigration, 24 January 1939
    (pp. 213-214)
  24. Appendix K The Establishment of the Reichsvereinigung Tenth Regulation to the Reich Citizenship Law 4 July 1939
    (pp. 215-220)
  25. Contributors
    (pp. 221-222)
  26. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 223-236)
  27. Index
    (pp. 237-246)