Life and Loss in the Shadow of the Holocaust : A Jewish Family's Untold Story
A family's recently discovered correspondence provides the inspiration for this fascinating and deeply moving account of Jewish family life before, during and after the Holocaust. Rebecca Boehling and Uta Larkey reveal how the Kaufmann-Steinberg family was pulled apart under the Nazi regime and dispersed over three continents. The family's unique eight-way correspondence across two generations brings into sharp focus the dilemma of Jews in Nazi Germany facing the painful decisions of when, if and to where they should emigrate. The authors capture the family members' fluctuating emotions of hope, optimism, resignation and despair as well as the day-to-day concerns, experiences and dynamics of family life despite increasing persecution and impending deportation. Headed by two sisters who were among the first female business owners in Essen, the family was far from conventional and their story contributes new dimensions to our understanding of Jewish life in Germany and in exile during these dark years.
- Electronic book text
- 20 May 2012
- CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
- Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
- Cambridge, United Kingdom
- 42 b/w illus.
Table of contents
1. Introduction; 2. German-Jewish lives from Emancipation through the Weimar Republic; 3. Losing one's business and citizenship: the Geschwister Kaufmann, 1933-1938; 4. Professional roadblocks and personal detours: Lotti and Marianne, 1933-1938; 5. The November Pogrom (1938) and its consequences for Kurt and his family; 6. New beginnings in Palestine, 1935-1939: Lotti and Kurt; 7. Rescuing loved ones trapped in Nazi Germany, 1939-1942; 8. Wartime rumors and postwar revelations; 9. Epilogue.
'Life and Loss in the Shadow of the Holocaust offers a richly-textured account of the Kaufmann-Steinberg family during the Second World War. Expertly illuminated by Rebecca Boehling and Uta Larkey, it is based on an extraordinarily full set of correspondence between family members with diverse perspectives. Among the many strengths of this superb study is the extent to which it challenges persistent notions concerning gender roles, relations with non-Jewish Germans, and attitudes toward traditional Judaism within German Jewry.' Michael Berkowitz, author of The Crime of My Very Existence: Nazism and the Myth of Jewish Criminality 'Based on a unique collection of private documents, Rebecca Boehling's and Uta Larkey's story of the fragmentation, destruction and regeneration of the Kaufmann-Steinberg family in the Holocaust is disturbing, saddening and intriguing - an outstanding book, as powerful as the famous diaries of Victor Klemperer and the renowned letters of Lily Jahn.' Thomas Kuhne, author of Belonging and Genocide: Hitler's Community, 1918-1945 'The authors have eloquently evoked the pain of a family scattered over three continents by Nazi persecution. Using gender and intergenerational analyses of a recently discovered cache of 600 letters, they have shown how increasing persecution forced German Jews to address the heart-wrenching question of whether to 'go or to stay'. This unique correspondence between siblings and their elders as well as among siblings also documents the ultimate terror of trying to escape Germany as the noose tightened, first around the younger ones, who managed to flee, and then around the older ones. This collective family biography will be hard to forget: it reveals the sheer agony of family decisions, the maddening frustration of emigration and immigration red tape, and the deafening silence of the people left behind.' Marion Kaplan, author of Between Dignity and Despair: Jewish Life in Nazi Germany
About Rebecca L. Boehling
Rebecca Boehling is Professor of History and Director of the Dresher Center for the Humanities at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Uta Larkey is Associate Professor of German Studies at Goucher College, Baltimore.