An event buried in the past is resurrected here to shed light on the nature and character of the Nazi regime, the Holocaust, and the German people themselves. Unknown except to specialists in the field of Holocaust studies, the Rosenstrasse protest occurred in February 1943, when the SS and Gestapo launched the Final Roundup of the Jews in Berlin. While some 10,000 were arrested and most immediately sent to their deaths at Auschwitz, approximately 2,000 were brought to Rosenstrasse in the center of Berlin. These were Jews—mostly men- -married to non-Jews. Consequently, there was some confusion over their status as prisoners. As word spread through Berlin of the final roundup and the detention at Rosenstrasse, hundreds of women converged on the street and demanded that Nazi officials release their loved ones. Despite assaults by the SS and the police, the demonstrations continued for a week; even Radio London broadcast information on the unfolding developments. Finally, the men were released. What happened to these Jews, and what it reveals about the larger issues of power, compromise, and propaganda, make for an interesting study of the Third Reich. Stoltzfus (History/Florida State Univ.) skillfully combines larger historical themes with the minute and powerful recollections of participants and eyewitnesses. Based on dozens of interviews with survivors, the work forces us to reconsider aspects of Holocaust history. As the last chapter so tellingly asks: What possibility was there for protest, rescue, or resistance within the Third Reich, and why did some people undertake those actions while others fell silent and did nothing? An important work that refracts larger political issues and ethical questions through the prism of a unique event: a heroic stand against the Nazi regime. (30 photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-393-03904-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1996

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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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