Among the many narratives about the atrocities committed against Jews in the Holocaust, the story about the Jews who lived in the eye of the storm—the German Jews—has received little attention. Germans against Germans: The Fate of the Jews, 1938–1945, tells this story—how Germans declared war against other Germans, that is, against German Jews.
Author Moshe Zimmermann explores questions of what made such a war possible? How could such a radical process of exclusion take place in a highly civilized, modern society? What were the societal mechanisms that paved the way for legal discrimination, isolation, deportation, and eventual extermination of the individuals who were previously part and parcel of German society? Germans against Germans demonstrates how the combination of antisemitism, racism, bureaucracy, cynicism, and imposed collaboration culminated in "the final solution."
List of Abbreviations
1. The Decline of German Jewry
2. The Tabula Rasa Policy
3. "Days of Grace" in a Mousetrap
4. From Quarantine to Depatriation
5. Lost in the East
6. Mischlinge, "Divers," and Virtual Jews
7. "The Jews Were Our Misfortune"
8. Jews as Germans Abroad
9. Looking Back, Looking Ahead
Moshe Zimmermann is Richard M. Koebner Professor Emeritus for German History at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. He is the author of Wilhelm Marr: The Patriarch of Antisemitism.
"The history of German Jews in the Nazi period is generally told as a history of deprivation of rights, expulsion, and exile, while the history of their destruction is subsumed under the history of European Jewry. Moshe Zimmermann is to be commended as the first to have rendered their distinct path to destruction a subject of portrayal: Their obstructed perception of their designated fate on the basis of their habitual legal comprehension of reality, their decency and their acceptance."—Dan Diner, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
"To this brilliant new synthesis on the history of the Jews in the Third Reich, Moshe Zimmermann has brought a lifetime of learning on modern German and Jewish history. Germans against Germans explores the expectations and desires of contemporaries as they lived them, without knowing how history would turn up. This is essential reading for scholars in the field."—Alon Confino, University of Massachusetts Amherst