Jews and Germans


Jews and Germans

Promise, Tragedy, and the Search for Normalcy

Guenter Lewy

280 pages
17 photographs, 2 illustrations, 1 table


October 2020


$35.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

(Requires Adobe Digital Editions)

October 2020


$35.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)

(Requires Adobe Digital Editions)

October 2020


$35.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Jews and Germans is the only book in English to delve fully into the history and challenges of the German-Jewish relationship, from before the Holocaust to the present day.

The Weimar Republic era—the fifteen years between Germany’s defeat in World War I (1918) and Hitler’s accession (1933)—has been characterized as a time of unparalleled German-Jewish concord and collaboration. Even though Jews constituted less than 1 percent of the German population, they occupied a significant place in German literature, music, theater, journalism, science, and many other fields. Was that German-Jewish relationship truly reciprocal? How has it evolved since the Holocaust, and what can it become?

Beginning with the German Jews’ struggle for emancipation, Guenter Lewy describes Jewish life during the heyday of the Weimar Republic, particularly the Jewish writers, left-wing intellectuals, combat veterans, and adult and youth organizations. With this history as a backdrop he examines the deeply disparate responses among Jews when the Nazis assumed power. Lewy then elucidates Jewish life in postwar West Germany; in East Germany, where Jewish communists searched for a second German-Jewish symbiosis based on Marxist principles; and finally in the united Germany—illuminating the complexities of fraught relationships over time.

Author Bio

Guenter Lewy is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst. He is the author of seventeen books, most recently Perpetrators: The World of the Holocaust Killers. Born in 1923 in Breslau, Germany (now Wrocław, Poland), he lived for six years under Nazi rule and was on the receiving end of storm trooper violence during Kristallnacht. He emigrated to Palestine in early 1939. With Erwin Rommel at the gates of Alexandria, Lewy volunteered for the British Army and served in the Jewish Brigade, which fought in Italy as part of Montgomery’s Eighth Army. For about a year after the war he was an interpreter for the British military police in occupied Germany. In 1946 he came to the United States.


"Lewy (emer., Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst), the author of many books related to German history, including the Holocaust, has written an important account of the symbiotic relationship between Germany and its Jewish population, both prior to and during Hitler's appointment as chancellor."—J. Fischel, Choice

“An impressive work—comprehensive and magisterial in its overview and detail. Moreover, having lived these tragic events, Lewy generously shares his personal experience, making this a unique and valuable source book that every informed reader and library must have.”—Peter Loewenberg, professor of history at the University of California–Los Angeles

“It is a remarkable and most enviable achievement when a distinguished scholar well on into his tenth decade completes yet another work of scholarship that at least equals and at points surpasses his earlier important work. Everything Lewy explores, he illuminates, bringing serious scholarship, clarity, intellectual balance, careful consideration of even the most controversial of issues, and insights galore to the most complex of relationships: between Germans and Jews.”—Michael Berenbaum, professor of Jewish studies at American Jewish University

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
1. The Struggle for Emancipation
2. The Heyday of Assimilation and Cultural Greatness
3. Jewish Patriots
4. The German-Jewish Youth Movement
5. Seeking a Place under Nazi Rule
6. Living in the Land of the Murderers
7. Being Jewish in Communist East Germany


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