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The Decline and Fall of German Jewry

Reviewed by Oded Heilbronner

  1. In my opinion, there should have been serious thought about the connotations of the volume’s title; namely, the very idea that the term “Holocaust” can be applied to the years 1933–1938, which are also covered by the collection. The question is whether the countdown to the annihilation of European and German Jewry should begin so early.
  2. Yad Vashem has already published the following volumes in the series: Menachem Shelah, ed., Yugoslavia, 1990; Randolph L. Braham and Nathaniel Katzburg, eds., Hungary, 1992; Asher Cohen, ed., France, 1996. The volume on Greece, edited by Steven Bowman, will also soon be published.
  3. I have in mind chiefly the studies of Otto Dov Kulka and David Bankier.
  4. The conclusions of these studies are cited in Oded Heilbronner, ed., The Jews of Weimar: A Society in the Crisis of Modernity, 1918–1933 (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1994), and Oded Heilbronner and Jacob Borut, eds., German Antisemitism, A New Look (Tel Aviv: Am Oved, forthcoming).
  5. The new study by Paul and Mallmann is the most up to date in the matter of the communist resistance in the Third Reich. See Gerhard Paul and Klaus-Michael Mallmann, Milieus und Widerstand: Eine Verhaltensgeschichte im Nationalsozialismus (Bonn: Dietz, 1995).
  6. I believe that scholars such as Martin Broszat and Hans Mommsen were among the first who noticed these distinctions with regard to resistance to the Nazi regime. For a summary in Hebrew of their approach, see Moshe Zimmermann, ed., The Resistance to Nazism (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1986).
  7. Marion A. Kaplan, Between Dignity and Despair: Jewish Life in Nazi Germany (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998). See Guy Meiron’s review of this book in this issue.
  8. Michael Brenner, The Renaissance of Jewish Culture in Weimar Germany (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996).
  9. Moshe Zimmermann, Die Deutschen Juden, 1914–1945 (Munich: Oldenbourg, 1997).
  10. Avraham Barkai, Vom Boykott zur “Entjudung”: Der Wirtschaftliche Existenzkampf der Juden im Dritten Reich 1933–1943 (Frankfurt: Fischer Taschenbuch, 1988). The book also appeared in English: From Boycott to Annihilation: The Economic Struggle of German Jews 1933-1943 (Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England, 1989).
  11. Jacob Borut, A New Spirit Among Our Brethren in Germany: The Turning Point of German Jewry in the Late Nineteenth Century (Jerusalem: Magnes, forthcoming).
  12. The scholar Victor Klemperer, a baptized Jew, is one example of such research, albeit somewhat exceptional. See his diaries from the Third Reich period, published several years ago: Victor Klemperer, Ich will Zeugnis ablagen bis zum letzten. Tagebuecher 1933–1945, edited by Walter Nowojski (Berlin: Aufbau, 1995); in English, I Shall Bear Witness: The Diaries of Victor Klemperer, 1933–1941 (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson 1998). Several historians were among the Jewish public figures during the Weimar and Third Reich periods but did not belong to the social circle that was associated with the Reichsvertretung. We know very little about them, including Ernst Kantorowicz, Harry Breslau, and Arnold Berney. See Robert Benton, ed., Ernst Kantorowicz (Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 1998); Michael Matthiesen, Verlorene Identitaet, der Historiker Arnold Berney und seine Freiburger Kollegen 1923–1938 (Goettingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1998); Stephan Roscher, Harry Breslau in Strassbourg. Ein juedischer Mediaevalist als deutsch-nationaler “Kulturprotestant” im Reichsland Elsass-Lothringen (Filderstadt-Bernhausen: Gesellschaft der Freunde und Foerderer der Erwin von Steinbach Stiftung, 1992).