The Lion and the Star: Gentile-Jewish Relations in Three Hessian Towns, 1919-1945 / Edition 1

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The Lion and the Star not only offers an informed glimpse into the intricacies of daily German life but also confirms the continuing danger of making sweeping generalizations about German Jews and non-Jews. In the aftermath of World War II, many viewed the Third Reich as an aberration in German history and laid blame with Hitler and his followers. Since the 1960s, historians have widened their focus, implicating "ordinary" Germans in the demise of German Jewry.

Jonathan Friedman addresses this issue by investigation everyday relations between German Jews and their Gentile neighbors. Friedman examines three German communities of different sizes — Frankfurt am Main, Giessen, and Geisenheim. Symbolized by the Hessian heraldic lion, these communities represent a cross-section of both Gentile and Jewish society in Germany during the Weimar and Nazi years. Researching in the United States, Germany, England, and Israel, he gleaned information from interviews, memoirs, diaries, letters, newspapers, church and synagogue records, censuses, government documents, and reports from Nazi and resistance organizations. Friedman's comparative analysis offers a balanced response to recent scholarly works condemning the entire German people for their complicity in the Holocaust.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Friedman's conclusion is sober and astute: most Germans has no interest in tormenting Jews, but the 'moderate' forms of Judeophobia that had helped make Hitler acceptable to them in the first place also opened them to complicity in genocide as the Nazi leaders eliminated one option after another." — American Historical Review

"Friedman's well-written and thoroughly researched study gives readers a good sense of the complexities of Gentile-Jewish relations in Weimar and nazi Germany." — Choice

"Uses a detailed examination of Gentile-Jewish relations in three quite different German localities to shed light on the still heavily contested issues of German Gentiles' attitudes toward Jews, Nazis, and Nazi anti-Jewish policy." — Church History

"Evinces truly sound scholarly research." — History

"Presents us with a wealth of statistical data, interviews, quotes from memoirs, diaries, letters, lengthy newspaper quotations, church and synagogues records, government documents and the reports of Nazi and Resistance organizations." — Jerusalem Post Magazine

"Demonstrates a thoughtful mastery of the literature of twentieth-century German and German-Jewish history, a prudent incorporation of oral histories and memoirs and a solid familiarity with German archival material." — Shofar

Distrusting the conventional view that the Third Reich was an aberration in Germany's history, Friedman explores relations between Jews and Germans in the towns of Frankfurt am Main, Giesen, and Geisenheim early in the 20th century. Emphasizing key issues of assimilation, he considers the history and social makeup of the Jewish communities; the socioeconomic challenges they faced at the time; and the political, social, and familiar contact between the two groups. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813120430
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
  • Publication date: 8/30/2011
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 0.81 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Tables
List of Maps
Introduction 1
1 Jewish Emancipation to 1919 15
2 Demography and Socioeconomic Structure 25
3 The Liberal-Jewish Model: Under Attack from Within 47
4 Gesellschaft vs. Gemeinschaft: Gentile-Jewish Relations before 1933 63
5 Jew-Hatred or "Arbeit und Brot!" Antisemitism and the Electoral Rise of the Nazis 103
6 Close to the Edge: Relations during the Early Years of the Third Reich 125
7 Relations during the "Final Solution" 153
Epilogue 181
Conclusion 185
Notes 187
Bibliography 271
Index 285
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