Bound Upon a Wheel of Fire: Why So Many German Jews Made the Tragic Decision to Remain In...

John V. H. Dippel, Author Basic Books $27.5 (384p) ISBN 978-0-465-09103-4
Jews who perished in the Holocaust have often been blamed for staying in Nazi Germany until it was too late. Dippel, an editorial consultant at Creative Communication of America in Albany, N.Y., attempts here to explain why so many Jews remained--up to 525,000, by the author's reckoning--by following the lives of six prominent German Jews, all of whom survived the war. While these Jews, among them chief rabbi of Berlin Leo Baeck; a banker; a youth leader; a society columnist; a scientist; and an editor reacted differently over time to the tightening noose, they all felt safely integrated into German society. In Dippel's revealing account, Germany's Jews only gradually came to see themselves as a separate group rather than the most loyal of citizens: ""[T]he overriding fact about `Jewish life' during the Weimar era was that there was no such thing."" Dippel's analysis of the catastrophe facing the Jews is highly informed, yet readers may wonder how six exceptional individuals can represent hundreds of thousands, most of whom finally perished. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
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