Between Dignity and De...
Marion A. Kaplan
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Between Dignity and Despair: Jewish Life in Nazi Germany

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  140 ratings  ·  8 reviews

Between Dignity and Despair draws on the extraordinary memoirs, diaries, interviews, and letters of Jewish women and men to give us the first intimate portrait of Jewish life in Nazi Germany.
Kaplan tells the story of Jews in Germany not from the hindsight of the Holocaust, nor by focusing on the persecutors, but from the bewildered and ambiguous perspective of Jews trying...more
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Published April 23rd 1998 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1998)
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In her book Between Dignity and Despair, Marion Kaplan contends that standard histories of the Nazi Era and the plight of Europe's Jewish population too often focus on the perpetrators and their mechanistic approach to mass murder. What is lost is an accurate representation of the victims, how they responded to the violence perpetrated against them, and ultimately, how they had to come to terms with the implementation of the “Final Solution.” Kaplan's goal is to bring the lives of the Jewish vic...more
Shane Avery

gender matters -- Jewish men were more reluctant to emigrate than were the women, since the former were more integrated in the public sphere (and committed to German (Liberal) culture), and the latter better able to observe the thousand pinpricks, that is, the incremental nature of Nazi violence and discrimination which penetrated ordinary every day life;

a social death preceded the physical death -- and in terms of social death, the majority of Germans were rampantly anti-semetic and henc...more
This would have been better, but I was just getting sick of all the facts that were thrown at me. They were worked in really well, but I just didn't want to hear just straight facts anymore. I also was getting sick of this book because my professor was making us read it in so many days and it was too difficult to read in that amount of time. A lot of things were repeated multiple times, which was good but bad at the same time. This gave a good background of the life in Nazi Germany, but it would...more
Kaplan is brilliant - the additional historical information she provides and the multi-dimensional perspective is incredibly valuable. If you were restricted to reading only two books about the interwar and holocaust periods, Wassertein's "On the Eve" and Kaplan's "Between Dignity & Despair" are the two to read.
I thought this book was fairly interesting. It was interesting to read specifically about how Jewish women in Nazi Germany were affected by the persecutions and roundups and so on in terms of the economy, society and expectations from gender roles at the time.
Kaplan focuses on Jewish life in Nazi Germany from the time Hitler gains power through the end of the war. She focuses on how the roles of women especially middle class Jewish women had to change during the Third Reich. Excellent read.
Heartbreaking first-hand accounts of everyday life in Nazi Germany.
Bernie Davis
Excellent - highly recommended.
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