Yfaat Weiss

A Futile Love: German Jews in the Years of Extermination

Review essay on: Moshe Zimmermann, Deutsche gegen Deutsche. Das Schicksal der Juden 1938–1945, Berlin: Aufbau, 2008, 315 pp.

A long line of historians, most of them German-born Jews, has devoted many years to studying the history of the Jews in Nazi Germany. However, almost without exception and irrespective of the generation to which they belonged, most of these historians chose to conclude their studies of Germany Jewry in 1938–1939. Moshe Zimmerman’s book addresses this deficiency. It proposes a systematic survey of the history of the Jews in Germany from the Kristallnacht pogrom to the destruction of German Jewry in the death camps in the East, analyzing numerous issues such as the anti-Jewish legislation, terror, the denouncing of innocent people, humiliation, expropriation, forced labor, deportations to the ghettoes in the East, and the extermination process. The writer sees the destruction of German Jewry, like that of European Jewry, as “the consistent outcome of the always extreme intention of getting rid of the Jews, an intention that was intertwined with the generation of actual possibilities for its realization.”