Studies in Contemporary Jewry

Studies in Contemporary Jewry

Book 19
Oxford University Press
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Bringing together contributions from established scholars from multiple disciplines and countries, Volume XIX of Studies in Contemporary Jewry offers a comparative view of alliances between Jewish communities and the state. Together, the volume's contents show the price Jews paid for allying with unpopular regimes. The essays cover the American South, South Africa, Canada, Algeria, Morocco, Poland, Hungary, Romania, and Russia.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Oxford University Press
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Published on
Sep 9, 2004
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Pages
336
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ISBN
9780195346879
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Jewish
Religion / General
Religion / History
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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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Volume XXV of the distinguished annual Studies in Contemporary Jewry explores new understandings and approaches to Jewish "ethnicity." In current parlance regarding multicultural diversity, Jews are often considered to belong socially to the "majority," whereas "otherness" is reserved for "minorities." But these group labels and their meanings have changed over time. This volume analyzes how "ethnic," "ethnicity," and "identity" have been applied to Jews, past and present, individually and collectively. Most of the symposium papers on the ethnicity of Jewish people and the social groups they form draw heavily on the case of American Jews, while others offer wider geographical perspectives. Contributors address ex-Soviet Jews in Philadelphia, comparing them to a similar population in Tel Aviv; Communism and ethnicity; intermarriage and group blending; American Jewish dialogue; and German Jewish migration in the interwar decades. Leading academics, employing a variety of social scientific methods and historical paradigms, propose to enhance the clarity of definitions used to relate "ethnic identity" to the Jews. They point to ethnic experience in a variety of different social manifestations: language use in social context, marital behavior across generations, spatial and occupational differentiation in relation to other members of society, and new immigrant communities as sub-ethnic units within larger Jewish populations. They also ponder the relevance of individual experience and preference as compared to the weight of larger socializing factors. Taken as a whole, this work offers revisionist views on the utility of terms like "Jewish ethnicity" that were given wider scope by scholars in the 1960s, '70s, and '80s.
"Shocking. Revelatory. Compelling. A truly authentic and riveting read. A milestone in WWII and Holocaust history." – Damien Lewis, author: The Nazi Hunters


"A harrowing, beautifully written and extremely well-researched account of a little-known aspect of the Holocaust. Patricia Posner's fine prose style grips from page one, and the horror will stay with you long after you finish the book." – Andrew Roberts, author: The Storm of War


"A gruesome story, eloquently told."  – Kirkus Reviews


"Posner avoids sensationalism and gives us a harrowing and important read." – Jewish Renaissance


"Posner's book doubles as the spellbinding story of Nazi Germany's largest industrial conglomerate, I.G. Farben . . . [and] in one important way, her book is a celebration of a rare kind of heroism. Its compelling side story offers an in-depth profile of Nazi hunter Fritz Bauer, who proved relentless in hunting down Capesius and bringing him to justice." – Dallas Morning News


"The research is impeccable . . . The prose is clear and concise . . . Good for you, Patricia Posner, for documenting a story that really is not yet over. This is a gripping read. Highly recommended." – miamiartzine

 

The Pharmacist of Auschwitz is the little known story of Victor Capesius, a Bayer pharmaceutical salesman from Romania who, at the age of 35, joined the Nazi SS in 1943 and quickly became the chief pharmacist at the largest death camp, Auschwitz.

Based in part on previously classified documents, Patricia Posner exposes Capesius’s reign of terror at the camp, his escape from justice, fueled in part by his theft of gold ripped from the mouths of corpses, and how a handful of courageous survivors and a single brave prosecutor finally brought him to trial for murder twenty years after the end of the war.

The Pharmacist of Auschwitz is much more, though, than a personal account of Capesius. It provides a spellbinding glimpse inside the devil’s pact made between the Nazis and Germany’s largest conglomerate, I.G. Farben, and its Bayer pharmaceutical subsidiary. The story is one of murder and greed with its roots in the dark heart of the Holocaust. It is told through Nazi henchmen and industrialists turned war criminals, intelligence agents and zealous prosecutors, and intrepid concentration camp survivors and Nazi hunters.

Set against a backdrop ranging from Hitler’s war to conquer Europe to the Final Solution to postwar Germany’s tormented efforts to confront its dark past, Posner shows the appalling depths to which ordinary men descend when they are unrestrained by conscience or any sense of morality. The Pharmacist of Auschwitz is a moving saga that lingers long after the final page.

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