Those Who Forget: My Family’s Story in Nazi Europe—a Memoir, a History, a Warning

Geraldine Schwarz, trans. from the French by Laura Marris. Scribner, $28 (320p) ISBN 978-1-5011-9908-0
In this astute debut, German-French journalist Schwarz, granddaughter of a Nazi Party member, examines how the denials and excuses of people like her German grandparents helped create the current revival of alt-right nationalism. While digging through family file cabinets in Manheim, Germany, in the early 2000s, Schwarz discovers a document showing that her paternal grandfather purchased a Jewish family’s oil company in 1938 for nearly nothing. She digs deeper into her family history and discovers that her grandparents attempted to justify their wartime activity as Mitläufer—“people who followed the current”—until the 1960s when the televised trial of former Nazi official Adolf Eichmann recalled mass murders and crimes against humanity, which most people had attempted to forget. As Schwarz explains, within decades, however, people like her grandparents attempted to rewrite or forgive past actions, which, in turn, allowed hatred to fester: “The most dangerous monster is not a megalomaniacal and violent leader, but us, the people who make him possible, who give him the power to lead.” This timely memoir also serves as a perceptive look at the current rise of far-right nationalism throughout Europe and the U.S. (May)
Reviewed on : 03/13/2020
Release date: 05/01/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-7971-0259-7
Book - 978-1-5011-9909-7
Compact Disc - 978-1-7971-0261-0
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