Kristallnacht 1938

Harvard University Press
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Kristallnacht revealed to the world the intent and extent of Nazi Judeophobia. However, it was seen essentially as the work of the Nazi leadership. Now, Alan Steinweis counters that view in his vision of Kristallnacht as a veritable pogrom - a popular cathartic convulsion of anti-Semitic violence that was manipulated from above but executed from below by large numbers of ordinary Germans rioting in the streets, heckling and taunting Jews, cheering Stormtroopers' hostility, and looting Jewish property on a massive scale.
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About the author

Alan E. Steinweis is Professor of History and Director of the Center for Holocaust Studies at the University of Vermont .

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Additional Information

Publisher
Harvard University Press
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Published on
Nov 15, 2009
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Pages
224
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ISBN
9780674054653
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Europe / Germany
History / Holocaust
History / Modern / 20th Century
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Between Dignity and Despair draws on the extraordinary memoirs, diaries, interviews, and letters of Jewish women and men to give us the first intimate portrait of Jewish life in Nazi Germany. Kaplan tells the story of Jews in Germany not from the hindsight of the Holocaust, nor by focusing on the persecutors, but from the bewildered and ambiguous perspective of Jews trying to navigate their daily lives in a world that was becoming more and more insane. Answering the charge that Jews should have left earlier, Kaplan shows that far from seeming inevitable, the Holocaust was impossible to foresee precisely because Nazi repression occurred in irregular and unpredictable steps until the massive violence of Novemer 1938. Then the flow of emigration turned into a torrent, only to be stopped by the war. By that time Jews had been evicted from their homes, robbed of their possessions and their livelihoods, shunned by their former friends, persecuted by their neighbors, and driven into forced labor. For those trapped in Germany, mere survival became a nightmare of increasingly desperate options. Many took their own lives to retain at least some dignity in death; others went underground and endured the fears of nightly bombings and the even greater terror of being discovered by the Nazis. Most were murdered. All were pressed to the limit of human endurance and human loneliness. Focusing on the fate of families and particularly women's experience, Between Dignity and Despair takes us into the neighborhoods, into the kitchens, shops, and schools, to give us the shape and texture, the very feel of what it was like to be a Jew in Nazi Germany.
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