* Lew’s comments on “Between Dignity and Despair” by Marion Kaplan

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 11, 2016


dignity & AFOE


So sad to read … a documentation of the Nazi web tightening around German Jews … their confusion and panic and efforts to leave … the changing roles of women forced to assume greater responsibilities.


… Jewish women were (compared to Jewish men) … more sensitive to discrimination … more eager to leave Germany … more willing to face uncertainty abroad

… many Jewish women experimented with new behaviors never before attempted by any German women … interceding with the authorities on behalf of their men … selling their homes on their own … seeking paid employment for the first time … deciding on countries of refuge on their own

… in their daily interactions, all Germans, from Nazi officials to ordinary Germans on the tram, had extraordinary power over Jews … this became normal

… The law became a source of persecution … perhaps the most frightening aspect was being deprived of the protection of law

… Many Germans used the vulnerable position of Jews for their own advantage … blackmail … demanding receipts for bills they had never paid … legal action against them was impossible … tenants refused to pay rent … landlords refused to honor rental contracts

… Dismissing Jewish teachers provided opportunities for the unemployed … likewise non-Jewish doctors profited from the removal of Jewish doctors … Government insurance agencies threatened patients who continued to go to Jewish doctors … Jewish doctors (male and female) lost their health insurance affiliation

… even when Jews gathered in private homes … they feared they were being watched by neighbors or by the Gestapo

… Confusing signals made the decision to leave difficult … Random kindnesses by German neighbors led Jews to conclude that Germany would never tolerate the most radical Nazi programs

… Jews faced requests for bribes and tributes at every step of the way … Gestapo agents, civil servants, packers and movers, even people in foreign consulates

… A Jewish woman is still thankful today that her mother save their lives by having sex the bureaucrat who then provided their exit papers


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