My German Question: Growing Up in Nazi Berlin

Yale.ORIM
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“Not only a memoir, it’s also a fierce reply to those who criticized German-Jewish assimilation and the tardiness of many families in leaving Germany” (Publishers Weekly).
 
In this poignant book, a renowned historian tells of his youth as an assimilated, anti-religious Jew in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1939—“the story,” says Peter Gay, “of a poisoning and how I dealt with it.” With his customary eloquence and analytic acumen, Gay describes his family, the life they led, and the reasons they did not emigrate sooner, and he explores his own ambivalent feelings—then and now—toward Germany its people.
 
Gay relates that the early years of the Nazi regime were relatively benign for his family, yet even before the events of 1938–39, culminating in Kristallnacht, they were convinced they must leave the country. Gay describes the bravery and ingenuity of his father in working out this difficult emigration process, the courage of the non-Jewish friends who helped his family during their last bitter months in Germany, and the family’s mounting panic as they witnessed the indifference of other countries to their plight and that of others like themselves. Gay’s account—marked by candor, modesty, and insight—adds an important and curiously neglected perspective to the history of German Jewry.
 
“Not a single paragraph is superfluous. His inquiry rivets without let up, powered by its unremitting candor.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review
 
“[An] eloquent memoir.” —The Wall Street Journal
 
“A moving testament to the agony the author experienced.” —Chicago Tribune 
 
“[A] valuable chronicle of what life was like for those who lived through persecution and faced execution.” —Choice
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About the author

Peter Gay is Sterling Professor of History Emeritus at Yale University and director of the Center for Scholars and Writers, New York Public Library. He is the author of many books, including the five-volume The Bourgeois Experience: Victoria to Freud; Freud: A Life for Our Time; A Godless Jew: Freud, Atheism, and the Making of Psychoanalysis; Voltaire’s Politics; and Reading Freud, the last three published by Yale University Press.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Yale.ORIM
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Published on
Oct 7, 1998
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Pages
222
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ISBN
9780300133141
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Jewish
History / Europe / Germany
History / Holocaust
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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“The beautiful owner of this book is dearer to me than my life – August your protector.” This one sentence was the key to a mystery involving some of the greatest and most infamous figures in European history, from Frederick the Great to Napoleon and Hitler—and solved by the author of this book.

Eve Haas is the daughter of a German Jewish family that took refuge in London after Hitler came to power. Following a terrifying air raid in the blitz, her father revealed the family secret, that her great-great grandmother Emilie was married to a Prussian prince. He then showed her the treasured leather-bound notebook inscribed to Emilie by the prince. Her parents were reluctant to learn more, but later in life, when Eve was married and inherited the diary, she became obsessed with proving this birthright. The Secrets of the Notebook tells how she follows the clues, from experts on European royalty in London to archives in West Germany and then, under threat of being arrested as a spy by the Communist regime, to an archive in East Germany that had never before opened its doors to the West. What she unearths is a love story set against the upheaval of the Napoleonic wars and the antiSemitism of the Prussian court, and a ruse that both protected Emilie’s daughter and probably condemned her granddaughter—Eve’s beloved grandmother, Anna—to death in the Nazi camps.

When first published in the UK, The Secrets of the Notebook was an Irish Times bestseller. A movie based on the book is in production. 
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE TELEGRAPH • From renowned German Holocaust historian Peter Longerich comes the definitive one-volume biography of Adolf Hitler’s malevolent minister of propaganda.

In life, and in the grisly manner of his death, Joseph Goebbels was one of Adolf Hitler’s most loyal acolytes. By the end, no one in the Berlin bunker was closer to the Führer than his devoted Reich minister for public enlightenment and propaganda. But how did this clubfooted son of a factory worker rise from obscurity to become Hitler’s most trusted lieutenant and personally anointed successor?

In this ground-breaking biography, Peter Longerich sifts through the historical record—and thirty thousand pages of Goebbels’s own diary entries—to provide the answer to that question. Longerich, the first historian to make use of the Goebbels diaries in a biographical work, engages and challenges the self-serving portrait the propaganda chief left behind. Spanning thirty years, the diaries paint a chilling picture of a man driven by a narcissistic desire for recognition who found the personal affirmation he craved within the virulently racist National Socialist movement. Delving into the mind of his subject, Longerich reveals how Goebbels’s lifelong search for a charismatic father figure inexorably led him to Hitler, to whom he ascribed almost godlike powers.

This comprehensive biography documents Goebbels’s ascent through the ranks of the Nazi Party, where he became a member of the Führer’s inner circle and launched a brutal campaign of anti-Semitic propaganda. Though endowed with near-dictatorial control of the media—film, radio, press, and the fine arts—Longerich’s Goebbels is a man dogged by insecurities and beset by bureaucratic infighting. He feuds with his bitter rivals Hermann Göring and Alfred Rosenberg, unsuccessfully advocates for a more radical line of “total war,” and is thwarted in his attempt to pursue a separate peace with the Allies during the waning days of World War II. This book also reveals, as never before, Goebbels’s twisted personal life—his mawkish sentimentality, manipulative nature, and voracious sexual appetite.

A harrowing look at the life of one of history’s greatest monsters, Goebbels delivers fresh insight into how the Nazi message of hate was conceived, nurtured, and disseminated. This complete portrait of the man behind that message is sure to become a standard for historians and students of the Holocaust for decades to come.

Praise for Goebbels

“Peter Longerich . . . has delved into rarely accessed material from his subject’s diaries, which span thirty years, to paint a remarkable portrait of the man who became one of Hitler’s most trusted lieutenants.”—The Daily Telegraph

Praise for Heinrich Himmler

“There have been several studies of this enigmatic man, but Peter Longerich’s massive biography, grounded in exhaustive study of the primary sources, is now the standard work and must stand alongside Ian Kershaw’s Hitler, Ulrich Herbert’s Best and Robert Gerwarth’s Hitler’s Hangman: The Life of Heydrich as one of the landmark Nazi biographies. As the author of a celebrated study of the Holocaust, Longerich is better able than his predecessors to situate Himmler within the vast machinery of genocide. And he brings to his task a gift for capturing those mannerisms that are the intimate markers of personality.”—London Review of Books

“[An] excellent and comprehensive biography.”—The New York Review of Books
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