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Exodus to Berlin: The Return of the Jews to Germany

Overview

In the years following the Holocaust, the Jewish community in Germany was tiny, decimated by the Nazis and shrinking fast as most survivors died or emigrated. But once the Berlin Wall fell, the German government invited Soviet-bloc Jews to come make a new life in prosperous and democratic Germany. Exodus to Berlin tells the story of that migration. Since 1989 more than 100,000 Jews have accepted Germany's invitation, filling Berlin and the rest of the country with a vibrant subculture. Germany now wakes up to ...
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Overview

In the years following the Holocaust, the Jewish community in Germany was tiny, decimated by the Nazis and shrinking fast as most survivors died or emigrated. But once the Berlin Wall fell, the German government invited Soviet-bloc Jews to come make a new life in prosperous and democratic Germany. Exodus to Berlin tells the story of that migration. Since 1989 more than 100,000 Jews have accepted Germany's invitation, filling Berlin and the rest of the country with a vibrant subculture. Germany now wakes up to synagogues filling for services, bagels and blintzes in new restaurants, and the mournful strains of Klezmer music in clubs and street festivals. Jews are finding sanctuary in Germany from the anti-Semitism, violence, and economic chaos that plague the former Soviet empire. But almost simultaneous with the first flow of Jewish immigrants, and stimulated by the failure of German unification to deliver promised prosperity to the former East Germany, neo-Nazis have been on the march in Germany, vowing to reclaim "Germany for the Germans!" More than a hundred murders and countless acts of vandalism are blamed on marauding right-wingers. Peter Laufer brings this current history to life through vivid narratives of events he experienced in Germany and dozens of highly personal interviews he conducted with the participants—Jews as they arrived at Germany's border, neo-Nazis who want to send those immigrants to Israel. Exodus to Berlin is a book of uncommon interest about one of the more unnoticed developments on the European continent. Illustrated with black-and-white photographs.
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Editorial Reviews

Radu Ioanid
An excellent book about complex realities and the danger of clichés.
Frederick M. Schweitzer
A splendid guide...one reads it with the excitement of a compelling revelation. Laufer is balanced and thorough, penetrating and insightful.
Review Of Higher Education - Marc Fisher
Laufer has done a splendid service.... Laufer's journey to Berlin is a ride full of revelations.
Booklist
An impartial and compelling account.
H-Net Review
An exceptional reminder of the sacrifices and effects of the Civil War on the home front.
Review Of Higher Education
Laufer has done a splendid service.... Laufer's journey to Berlin is a ride full of revelations.
— Marc Fisher
H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online
An exceptional reminder of the sacrifices and effects of the Civil War on the home front.
Washington Post
Laufer has done a splendid service.... Laufer's journey to Berlin is a ride full of revelations.
— Marc Fisher
Marc Fisher
Laufer has done a splendid service ....Laufer's journey to Berlin is a ride full of revelations.
Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Germany's burgeoning Jewish population is one of the more compelling European phenomena during the past decade. Laufer, a former NBC News correspondent and award-winning documentary filmmaker, relies on dozens of interviews to paint a comprehensive-although less than compelling-portrait of the fastest-growing Jewish community in the world today. He scours the entire country and examines all the angles of the phenomenon: Holocaust survivors who never left; immigrants from the former Soviet Union, who have provided much of the growth; even Israelis of German descent who want to have German citizenship in case Israeli-Palestinian violence becomes too much to bear. All too often, one wishes that Laufer had probed a bit deeper into questions of identity; too many times, he asks only the simple question, "Do you feel German [or Ukrainian] or Jewish?" Laufer also explores the non-Jewish German side of the equation: he interviews German teens attending a demonstration against anti-Semitism and visits with a group of neo-Nazis and a rabbi who was taunted and then beaten for being Jewish. But the portrait that emerges is optimistic, of a society that is moving forward even as it struggles to deal with the terrible legacy of Nazism. Laufer even profiles Hellmut Stern, a Jewish musician who left Germany on the eve of WWII and has now returned to take up a chair in the Berlin Philharmonic. "They are dead," he says of the Nazis. "We are here. That is a triumph." The book is a partial triumph as well. B&w photos. (Oct. 3) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566635295
  • Publisher: Dee, Ivan R. Publisher
  • Publication date: 9/28/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 7.04 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.99 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Laufer, an international news correspondent, won the George Polk Award for his radio documentary on Americans imprisoned overseas. Mr. Laufer's other books include Wetback Nation, Iron Curtain Rising, and Nightmare Abroad. Laufer, along with Jeff Kamen, has produced a documentary film on the subject of this book, which was awarded the David Wolper Documentary Film Prize. He lives in Bodega Bay, California, near San Francisco.
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Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
1 A Reluctant Move to Germany 3
2 German Schoolgirls Talk About Skinheads 11
3 Germans and Immigrant Jews Struggle to Coexist 15
4 The Legacy of German Anti-Semitism 26
5 Berlin's Jewish Survivors 36
6 Who Is a Jew? 52
7 Emigrants Long for a German Visa 58
8 Along the Border That Jews Can Ignore 66
9 The Lingering Berlin "Wall in the Head" 74
10 Jews Ponder Assimilation 90
11 Jews Rooted in Berlin 97
12 Christian Germans Protest Anti-Semitism 105
13 Berliners Analyze the Tolerance Demonstration 119
14 Inside an Insidious Neo-Nazi Parade 128
15 Another Jewish Cemetery Is Desecrated 139
16 Escalating Neo-Nazi Crimes 148
17 Rebuilding Berlin's Jewish Life 159
18 A Visit with Hitler's New Followers and Their Leader 171
19 A Jewish Berliner Discounts the Neo-Nazis 187
20 The Weary Nazi-chasing Cop 200
21 Song and Dance 214
Epilogue: Alexandr Rojsenblat Becomes a German Jew 220
Notes 225
Index 229
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