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 WWI (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 one percent of the German population, they occupied a significant place in German literature, music, the theatre, 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, Lewy delves into Jewish life during the heyday of the Weimar Republic (Jewish writers, left-wing intellectuals, combat veterans, adult and youth organizations); and the disparate responses when the Nazis assumed power. He then examines Jewish life in post-war 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—enlightening us about the complexities of fraught relationships over time.
“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 relationship between Germans and Jews.”– Michael Berenbaum, Professor, Jewish Studies, American Jewish University