A welcome addition to the literature of the Holocaust and Nazi Germany.




A new history of the Bund, an “idealistic group of Germans who, in a small way, did something remarkable.”

After the fall of the Third Reich, many Germans zealously asserted that they had never sympathized with the fascist regime; indeed, there were those few who truly resisted the scourge and even tried to rescue its victims. This history chronicles the significant contributions of one group, the Bund. Roseman (Director, Jewish Studies/Indiana Univ., The Wannsee Conference and the Final Solution, 2002, etc.), an award-winning historian of Nazi Germany, tells of a small group of leftist idealists that was established in the days of the Weimar Republic to improve humanity with lectures, exercise, pamphlets, and dance performances. Called simply the Bund, its “inspirational leader” was Artur Jacobs, who possessed “boundless optimism and self-confidence.” He was not Jewish, but his wife was. After the mob outrages against German Jews on Kristallnacht, members of the Bund, even under the watchful eyes of the brown-shirted offenders, offered succor and sympathy, fruit and flowers to those eventually headed to the concentration camps. They also supplied lifesaving Bund houses for some Jews. Providing help was exceedingly difficult. Relatives of some of the group’s adherents were in the Wehrmacht, there were constant and devastating air raids in the Ruhr homeland of the Bund, and rations were scarce. Not surprisingly, after the Allied victory in Europe, when reparations became available to proven victims of the Third Reich, Bundists, including Jacobs, lined up. Recounting their considerable trials, many, including Jacobs, exaggerated their wartime exploits and their suffering. With meticulous research into personal papers and other primary material, Roseman provides a singular footnote to the story of life in Hitler’s Germany. Reflecting on the story of the Bund, readers may ask again: “What would I have done?”

A welcome addition to the literature of the Holocaust and Nazi Germany.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62779-787-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Metropolitan/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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