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158 SHOFAR Spring 2000 Vol. 18, No.3 Each contribution to this study offers a wealth of information and documentation that is likely to enhance the knowledge ofall but the most serious students ofthe topic, and even they may well come away with, at least, some useful nuggets of information or even a new perspective on the subject. In my view, the primary value ofthis book is that it presents a wealth of well documented information on a topic that has been neglected, and that it does this without depersonalizing or sentimentalizing the people who are its subject. In the first chapter, for instance, Gunter Plum describes in painstaking and painful detail the internecine quarrels that characterized much of the German Jewish effort to formulate a response Hitler and his policies. Plum introduces the reader to the leaders ofa wide spectrum ofpolitical, cultural, and religious factions; he describes and makes comprehensible the nature and basis of their positions without resorting to oversimplification; he dramatizes the interaction and friction among the various factions by simply reproducing portions ofthe speeches and manifestos oftheir leaders. Thus, by means of the deft but sober and objective juxtaposition of texts and of events, Plum allows us to witness and better understand the seemingly inexorable flow toward tragedy. All the other contributions to this study are also well conceived and highly informative. Die Juden in Deutschland 1933-1945 is a generally attractive volume that is almost completely free of typographical errors or other such infelicities. The book contains a few moderately interesting photographs, a number of useful tables of statistical information and quite a few useful bibliographical references. This study should be of interest to all serious students of modem Jewish history. Therefore, the more the pity that no one, as far as I have been able to determine, has undertaken the task of translating it. Manfred Jacobson Department of Modem Languages & Literatures University of Nebraska-Lincoln My German Question: Growing Up Jewish in Nazi Berlin, by Peter Gay. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998. 240 pages. $22.50. Peter Gay's reminiscence of his childhood years in Nazi Berlin takes the reader on a fast-paced trip back through Gay's own remembrances of his youth, his later visits to and confrontations with Germany and Germans, and his years of historical research. Gay asserts that the book is decidedly not an autobiography, rather an attempt to understand what he brought to his experiences and what deposits such experiences have left upon him. Book Reviews 159 Gay's memoir begins with his academic return visit to Germany in 1961. He relates his uneasiness, his emotional numbness, and his inability to come to reconciliation with his memories, even though he found no echoes of the antisemitism of the 1930s. Gay then flashes back to his first ten years of life, which he views as a "training" for what was to come. He describes in detail the contrasting styles and personalities of his parents and the range and diversity offamilial relations, though, he contends, the book is not a family history. Nevertheless, the book does offer some very insightful information about Gay's own family, family dynamics, and the texture ofBerlin Jewry. His comments about his father's business, the family's moves even in the midst ofdepression, as well as the rich tapestry of Berlin life help to bring many sections of the book alive. Throughout Gay underscores the tension between his family members' identification as both Germans and Jews. Although Gay's father served his country bravely in the first world war, Gay senses that German Jews, even Jews with little religion, were somehow different from other Germans. As Gay notes, although members of his immediate family were more akin to "village atheists"-who were secular and critical, but who never converted -they had in a very real sense been forced to become Jews in 1933. After 1933, particularly in associations, school, and his own mental world Gay was forced to confront his Jewishness in a way he seems not to have conceived of till later in life. Gay's recollections of parading Nazi stormtroopers, Nazi political theater, the events of Kristallnacht, and the complexities and...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5165
Print ISSN
0882-8539
Pages
pp. 158-160
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
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