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Jews and Germans: Promise, Tragedy, and the Search for Normalcy

Jews and Germans: Promise, Tragedy, and the Search for Normalcy

by Guenter Lewy
Jews and Germans: Promise, Tragedy, and the Search for Normalcy

Jews and Germans: Promise, Tragedy, and the Search for Normalcy

by Guenter Lewy


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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.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780827618497
Publisher: The Jewish Publication Society
Publication date: 10/01/2020
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: eBook
Pages: 282
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Guenter Lewy is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst. He is the author of seventeen books, most recently Perpetrators: The World of the Holocaust Killers. Born in 1923 in Breslau, Germany (now Wrocław, Poland), he lived for six years under Nazi rule and was on the receiving end of storm trooper violence during Kristallnacht. He emigrated to Palestine in early 1939. With Erwin Rommel at the gates of Alexandria, Lewy volunteered for the British Army and served in the Jewish Brigade, which fought in Italy as part of Montgomery’s Eighth Army. For about a year after the war he was an interpreter for the British military police in occupied Germany. In 1946 he came to the United States.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
1. The Struggle for Emancipation
2. The Heyday of Assimilation and Cultural Greatness
3. Jewish Patriots
4. The German-Jewish Youth Movement
5. Seeking a Place under Nazi Rule
6. Living in the Land of the Murderers
7. Being Jewish in Communist East Germany


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