Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1933-1945, Abridged Edition
  • Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1933-1945, Abridged Edition
  • Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1933-1945, Abridged Edition

Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1933-1945, Abridged Edition

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by Saul Friedlander, Orna Kenan

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Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1933-1945 is an abridged edition of Saul Friedländer's definitive Pulitzer Prize-winning two-volume history of the Holocaust: Nazi Germany and the Jews: The Years of Persecution, 1933-1939 and The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945.

The book's first part, dealing with the

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Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1933-1945 is an abridged edition of Saul Friedländer's definitive Pulitzer Prize-winning two-volume history of the Holocaust: Nazi Germany and the Jews: The Years of Persecution, 1933-1939 and The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945.

The book's first part, dealing with the National Socialist campaign of oppression, restores the voices of Jews who were engulfed in an increasingly horrifying reality following the Nazi accession to power. Friedländer also provides the accounts of the persecutors themselves—and, perhaps most telling of all, the testimonies of ordinary German citizens who, in general, stood silent and unmoved by the increasing waves of segregation, humiliation, impoverishment, and violence.

The second part covers the German extermination policies that resulted in the murder of six million European Jews—an official program that depended upon the cooperation of local authorities and police departments, the passivity of the populations, and the willingness of the victims to submit in desperate hope of surviving long enough to escape the German vise.

A monumental, multifaceted study now contained in a single volume, Saul Friedländer's Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1933-1945 is an essential study of a dark and complex history.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1933-1945

Abridged Edition

By Saul Friedlander
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
Copyright © 2009

Saul Friedlander
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061350276

Chapter One

Into the Third Reich

January 1933-December 1933

The exodus from Germany of Jewish and left-wing artists and intellectuals began during the early months of 1933, almost immediately after Adolf Hitler's accession to power on January 30. As among thousands, the conductors Otto Klemperer and Bruno Walter were compelled to flee, Hans Hinkel, the new Nazi president of the Prussian Theater Commission and the official in charge of the "de-Judaization" of cultural life in Prussia, explained in the Frankfurter Zeitung of April 6 that Klemperer and Walter had disappeared from the musical scene because there was no way to protect them from the "mood" of a German public long provoked by "Jewish artistic liquidators."1

Prominence and fame shielded no one. On January 30, 1933, Albert Einstein, on a visit to the United States, described what was happening in Germany as a "psychic illness of the masses." He ended his return journey in Ostend (Belgium) and never again set foot on German soil. The Kaiser Wilhelm Society dismissed him from his position; the Prussian Academy of Sciences expelled him; his citizenship was rescinded. Einstein was no longer a German. Max Reinhardt was expelled from the directorship of the German Theaterand fled the Reich. Max Liebermann, possibly the best-known German painter of the time, was too old to emigrate when Hitler came to power. Formerly president of the Prussian Academy of Arts, and in 1933 its honorary president, he held the highest German decoration, the Pour le Mérite. On May 7 Liebermann resigned from the academy; none of his colleagues deemed it necessary to express a word of recognition or sympathy. Isolated and ostracized, Liebermann died in 1935; only three "Aryan" artists attended his funeral.2

By and large there was no apparent sense of panic or even of urgency among the great majority of the approximately 525,000 Jews living in Germany in January 1933. The board of the Central Association of German Citizens of the Jewish Faith (Zentralverein, or CV) announced, on January 30: "In general, today more than ever we must follow the directive: wait calmly."3 An editorial in the association's newspaper for January 30, written by the organization's chairman, Ludwig Holländer, was slightly more worried in tone, but reflected basically the same stance: "The German Jews will not lose the calm they derive from their tie to all that is truly German. Less than ever will they allow external attacks to influence their inner attitude toward Germany."4

As the weeks went by, Max Naumann's Association of National German Jews and the Reich Association of Jewish War Veterans hoped for no less than integration into the new order of things. On April 4 the veterans' association chairman, Leo Löwenstein, addressed a petition to Hitler including a list of nationalistically oriented suggestions regarding the Jews of Germany, as well as a copy of the memorial book containing the names of the twelve thousand German soldiers of Jewish origin who had died for Germany during World War I. Ministerial Councillor Wienstein answered on April 14 that the chancellor acknowledged receipt of the letter and the book with "sincerest feelings."5 The head of the Chancellery, Hans Heinrich Lammers, received a delegation of the veterans on April 28, but with that the contacts ceased. Soon Hitler's office stopped acknowledging petitions from the Jewish organization. Like the Central Association, the Zionists continued to believe that the initial upheavals could be overcome by a reassertion of Jewish identity or simply by patience; the Jews reasoned that the responsibilities of power, the influence of conservative members of the government, and a watchful outside world would exercise a moderating influence on any Nazi tendency to excess.

For some Jews the continuing presence of the aged, respected President Paul von Hindenburg as head of state was a source of confidence; they occasionally wrote to him about their distress. "I was engaged to be married in 1914," Frieda Friedmann, a Berlin woman, wrote to Hindenburg on February 23: "My fiancé was killed in action in 1914. My brothers Max and Julius Cohn were killed in 1916 and 1918. My remaining brother, Willy, came back blind. . . . All three received the Iron Cross for their service to the country. But now it has gone so far that in our country pamphlets saying, 'Jews, get out!' are being distributed on the streets, and there are open calls for pogroms and acts of violence against Jews. . . . Is incitement against Jews a sign of courage or one of cowardice when Jews comprise only one percent of the German people?" Hindenburg's office promptly acknowledged receipt of the letter, and the president let Frieda Friedmann know that he was decidedly opposed to excesses perpetrated against Jews. The letter was then transmitted to Hitler, who wrote in the margin: "This lady's claims are a swindle! Obviously there has been no incitement to a pogrom!"6 The Jews finally, like a considerable part of German society, were not sure—particularly before the March 5, 1933, Reichstag elections—whether the Nazis were in power to stay or whether a conservative military coup against them was still possible.

The primary political targets of the new regime, at least during the first months after the Nazi accession to power, were not Jews but Communists. On February 27, the Reichstag was set on fire. The Communists were accused of the arson, and the manhunt that followed led to the arrest of almost ten thousand party members and sympathizers and to their imprisonment in newly created concentration camps. Dachau had been established on March 20 and was officially inaugurated by SS chief Heinrich Himmler on April 1 (the Schutzstaffel, or SS, was the Nazi party's elite force). In June SS Group Leader Theodor Eicke became the camp's commander, and a year later he was appointed "inspector of concentration camps": Under Himmler's aegis he had become the architect of the life-and-death routine of the camp inmates in Hitler's new Germany.


Excerpted from Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1933-1945 by Saul Friedlander Copyright © 2009 by Saul Friedlander. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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