Between Dignity and Despair
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Between Dignity and Despair : Jewish Life in Nazi Germany

4.15 (299 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

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 from the vantage of 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; many others went underground and endured the terrors of nightly bombings and the even greater fear 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.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 132 x 194 x 24mm | 359.99g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195130928
  • 9780195130928
  • 270,548

About Marion A. Kaplan

Marion Kaplan, whose own parents escaped Nazi Germany, is Professor of History at Queens College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. She is the author of The Making of the Jewish Middle Class: Women, Family, and Identity in Imperial Germany (OUP), which won the National Jewish Book Award and the German History Prize and The Jewish Feminist Movement in Germany. She lives in New York City.show more

Review quote

-This is a devastatingly powerful book. By vividly illustrating how the Holocaust began with seemingly inconsequential acts of humiliation, Kaplan offers readers a message of contemporary relevance.---The New York Times Book Review-Fascinating....Kaplan works at the intersection of Holocaust history and women's studies.---The Philadelphia Inquirer-An exceptional Holocaust study.---Kirkus Reviews-An innovative and suggestive exploration of a surprisingly neglected piece of Jewish history.---Publishers Weeklyshow more

Rating details

299 ratings
4.15 out of 5 stars
5 34% (103)
4 47% (142)
3 17% (51)
2 1% (2)
1 0% (1)
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