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Fromms: How Julius Fromm's Condom Empire Fell to the Nazis [Kindle Edition]

Gotz Aly , Michael Sontheimer , Shelley Frisch
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Print List Price: $23.95
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Book Description

If you wanted to buy a top-quality condom in prewar Germany, you bought Fromms Act, the first brand name condom and still a leading brand in the German market. The man behind this "pure German quality product" was Julius Fromm, a Jewish entrepreneur who had immigrated from Russia as a child. Fromm was in the right place at the right time: he patented Fromms Act in 1916, when the combination of changing sexual mores, awareness of sexual health, and the lack of reliable prophylactics meant a market primed for his product. In 1922 he began mass production and opened international branches. Sixteen years later, after building the brand into a best seller and the company into a model business, he was forced to sell Fromms Act for a fraction of its worth to a German baroness. In 1939 he emigrated to London.

Aly and Sontheimer trace Fromm's rise and fall, illuminating the ways Jewish businesses like his were Aryanized under the Nazis. Through the biography of this businessman and the story of his unusual and fabulously successful company, we learn the fascinating history of the first branded condoms in Germany and the sexual culture that allowed them to thrive, the heretofore undocumented machinations by which the Nazis robbed German-Jewish families of their businesses, and the tragedy of a man whose great love for the adopted country that first allowed him to succeed was betrayed by its government and his fellow citizens.

This captivating account offers a wealth of detail and a fresh array of photographic documentation, and adds a striking new dimension to our understanding of this dark period in German history.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews


“Aly and Sontheimer meticulously follow the story of [the Fromm family]….With Fromms, we see a little-known history of a family which would otherwise be forgotten. With a sense of compassion, the authors try to set the record straight, writing, ‘Julius Fromm had fallen prey to the robbers. These were not a bunch of bandits in the bushes, however, but a state and its citizens.’”—Chicago Sun-Times

“Condoms, sex, Judaism, not to mention scandal, salaciousness, and socialism…all chronicled in the new book Fromms: How Julius Fromm's Condom Empire Fell to the Nazis… it’s hard to deny that Julius Fromm is still a captivating and fascinating footnote in Holocaust history that deserves his own story.”—The Daily Beast
“Few German Jews possessed more in material wealth than the entrepreneur Julius Fromm…Fromms: How Julius Fromm's Condom Empire Fell to the Nazis…tell[s] how Fromm became a household name, and how his company was commandeered by the Nazi regime.”—The Chronicle of Higher Education

"The condom–that lowly, indispensable, and still hotly contested object–is not only one of the great inventions of all time but also provides a crucial clue to the ultimately devastating triangular relationship between Jews, Christians, and Nazis in 1930s Germany. This riveting, brilliant little book offers profound new insights into the tangled mess of gentile greed, corruption, anti-Semitism, and ambivalence about sexual freedoms that explains so much about the Third Reich's rise and murderous trajectory."
–Dagmar Herzog, author of Sex in Crisis: The New Sexual Revolution and the Future of American Politics

"Serious, ironic, sarcastic, with a deep moral outrage that shines through every page, and does not need to be made explicit through sermonizing. The boo...

About the Author

Götz Aly

Götz Aly is a freelance journalist and historian living in Berlin. He is the author of numerous scholarly works on the Holocaust and was the 2004—2006 visiting professor for interdisciplinary Holocaust research at the Fritz Bauer Institut in Frankfurt am Main.

Michael Sontheimer

Michael Sontheimer is a correspondent for Der Spiegel and has appeared as a commentator on NPR and CNN International. In addition to his work in newspapers and magazines, he has written nine books on politics.

Shelley Frisch

Shelley Frisch, who holds a doctorate in German literature from Princeton University, is author of The Lure of the Linguistic and translator of numerous books from the German, including biographies of Nietzsche, Einstein, and Kafka, for which she was awarded the 2007 Modern Language Association Translation Prize for a Scholarly Study of Literature. She lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2328 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Other Press (October 7, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RYXA1I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,377,900 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
There are some aspects of history ignored because they invoke a bit of squeamishness. "Fromms: How Julius Fromm's Condom Empire Fell to the Nazis" is the story of Julius Fromm, a German Jew who made his fortune being an industrious capitalist and capitalizing on a much more sexually free time to become the leader in dealing in condom sales. His story is a tragic one that has been heard in some form, of how a rightfully earned fortune was lost to racism and oppression. "Fromms" is an insightful look into the Jewish business man in this rough time, highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The victims of Nazi plunder August 21, 2012
By Meaghan
People tend to forget, in all the talk about lives lost during the Holocaust, of the plundered property. Obviously it's much worse if you were actually killed by the Nazis, but there were a lot of people who had everything taken from them but their lives, and this was horrible for them and definitely counts as severe persecution. Most of the stolen goods and money were never returned and probably quite a bit of the Jews' riches are still locked up in Swiss bank vaults.

Gotz Aly's study of the Fromm family, and how their wealth was stripped down to nothing by the Nazis, brings the stolen property to the forefront and it really got me thinking about Rudolf Vrba's theory that the real motive behind the Holocaust was steal Jews' wealth and belongings. Julius Fromm was a wealthy manufacturer of condoms and his brand -- under new ownership -- is well-known in Germany today. Gotz Aly studied his entire extended family, both those who got out in time and those who were lost -- and accounted for their stolen wealth down to the last reichmark. I found all the numbers a bit tedious, but he had to keep repeating them to keep them in the reader's mind, to show just how much the Nazis enriched themselves by their bloody actions.

This book is worth reading not only because it's a rare case study, but because it's good, solid history and well-written, just like Gotz Aly's previous book, Into the Tunnel: The Brief Life of Marion Samuel, 1931-1943, the case study of a random Jewish child who died in the Holocaust. I would pick up any of his other books if I had the opportunity.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Why the Germans lost the war! February 1, 2015
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Book was a good read and informative about this subject. Would recommend it.Very History
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