No Justice in Germany: The Breslau Diaries, 1933-1941

No Justice in Germany: The Breslau Diaries, 1933-1941


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With great immediacy, the diaries of Willy Cohn, a Jew and a Social Democrat, show how the process of marginalization under the Nazis unfolded within the vibrant Jewish community of Breslau—until that community was destroyed in 1941. Cohn documents how difficult it was to understand precisely what was happening, even as people were harassed, beaten, and taken off to concentration camps. He chronicles the efforts of the community to maintain some semblance of normal life at the same time as many made plans to emigrate or to get their children out.

Cohn and his wife Gertrud were able to get their three oldest children out of Germany before it was too late. However, burying himself in his work chronicling the history of the Jews in Germany, his diaries, and his memoirs, Cohn missed his own chance to escape. In late 1941, he, Gertrud, and their two young daughters were deported to Lithuania, where they were shot.

Willy Cohn was a complex individual: an Orthodox Jew and a socialist; an ardent Zionist and a staunch German patriot; a realist but also an idealist often unable to cope with reality; a democrat and an admirer of certain Nazi policies and of their resoluteness. These contradictions and the wealth of detail that poured from his pen give us a unique view of those disorienting and frightening times in Germany.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780804773249
Publisher: Stanford University Press
Publication date: 10/10/2012
Series: Stanford Studies in Jewish History and Culture
Pages: 440
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Willy Cohn (1888–1941) was the most important writer of his generation to study and record the lives of the Jewish population of Breslau. A historian and educator, he knew the town and its Jewish community like no other.
Norbert Conrads is Professor Emeritus and former Chair of Early Modern History at the University of Stuttgart. He is author of numerous books on early modern Germany and Silesia. He has been awarded several prizes, including the doctorate honoris causa by the Polish University of Wrocław in 2011.

Table of Contents

Translator's Note ix

Introduction xiii

The Seizure of Power and the Abolition of Rights 1

Looking for Work and Intellectual Diversion 15

The Jewish Museum 26

The Röhm Putsch 34

Lectures 38

Ernst on His Way to Palestine 48

Berlin or Palestine? 61

Youth Work 71

In Bad Kudowa 75

The Directorship at the Jewish Gymnasium 82

Lectures and Publications 98

Teaching Appointment at the Jewish Theological Seminary 117

Exploratory Trip to Palestine 122

Daily Life 153

The Annexation of Austria 175

The "Big Geserah" of November 9, 1938 178

Efforts to Get the Children Out 196

Hopes for Palestine 227

Commission from Get-mania Judaica 249

Ruth's Departure 257

Coercion and Seduction by the Gestapo 262

The Outbreak of the World War 270

The First Deportations 300

Writing His Memoirs 329

The Geserah of the Baden Jews 332

Insecurity and Harassment 344

The Russian Campaign and the War against the Jews 359

Eviction 371

Final Paths 393

Afterword by the Editor 399

Timeline 403

A Family Overview 407

Glossary 409

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