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The Last Jews in Berlin Paperback – August 18, 1999


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Frequently Bought Together

The Last Jews in Berlin + Refuge in Hell: How Berlin's Jewish Hospital Outlasted the Nazis + Jews in Nazi Berlin: From Kristallnacht to Liberation (Studies in German-Jewish Cultural History and Literature, Franz Rosenzweig Miner)
Price for all three: $62.02

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (August 18, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786706872
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786706877
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,139,927 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A tour de force . . . A consummately suspenseful narrative . . . remindful, in [its] exquisite detail, of Capote's In Cold Blood -- Los Angeles Times

"An historian's book, a storyteller's book, and - most of all - a reader's book . . . All the real-life stuff of a John le Carr novel" -- Los Angeles Herald Examiner

More About the Author

I'm the author, co-author or ghostwriter of 22 books, including my latest novel The Memoirs of JFK. Prior to writing books and later films and plays , I wrote for numbers of magazines, principally LOOK, on whose staff I served for twelve years as a senior editor, Latin American correspondent, European editor and West Coast editor.

My latest novel The Memoirs of JFK imagines that John F. Kennedy survived Dallas, that he served two terms and then wrote a memoir in which he fails to confront many of the questions that had arisen in the JFK presidency and in the aftermath of assassination attempt. A worried publisher sends a seasoned ghostwriter to try to persuade President Kennedy to deal with these omissions. Their combat is the engine of this novel.

With the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy and in the shadow of the U.S. government shutdown one has to wonder. What would our country and the world look like today if JFK had not died in Dallas?

Although my novel The Memoirs of JFK is an invention, both its factual aspects and post-assassination conjectures are informed by my interviews with some 50 sources--many of them members of President Kennedy's administration, some of them journalists he favored, a few of them close friends. No one, of course, can know for certain what decisions John Fitzgerald Kennedy would have taken, but given the nature of the man and his expressed intent, the world described in the novel is one we might well have lived in had he survived Dallas.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 15 customer reviews
They are fascinating true stories.
Russell Robe
I bought this book a short time ago, and I started to read it the day I found it in my post box.
Inger Watts
Wonderfully written..factual but reads like a spellbinding story.
stumbellina

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Inger Watts on June 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
I bought this book a short time ago, and I started to read it the day I found it in my post box. It is a very captivating book about how 18 Jews survived in the very heart of Nazi Germany during World War. Some managed to keep their families somewhat intact, while others were the only survivor among their entire family.

They survived in different ways, but all had at least one person helping them. One of the things I liked the most with this book; was the very fact that it tells the stories of brave and good Germans who risked their lives in order to help fellow citizens. Despite the fact that they had had to live with Hitler's propaganda and terror for more than a decade, they still aimed to do their best. Even though many survivors and rescuers often were lucky, I was amazed about how clever they were and how they managed to stay alive.

On the front cover of the book Los Angeles Times is quoted to have written: "[Reads] like an Alfred Hitchcock thriller", and I agree with them. The book was very well written, and it was very hard to put it down. I found myself reading until I went to sleep, and next morning I managed to read another chapter before I went to work. I read the book in no time, and I was only sorry I had finished it. I wanted to keep on reading.

The big difference between this book and a Hitchcock thriller is of course that: "The Last Jews in Berlin" is not fiction.

The only thing that I missed was photos of the people I read about. Still, the book is so good I find it really deserves five stars
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Carmen Carter on November 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
Gross is an exemplary writer, letting this story unfold through a spare, unembroidered narration of the harrowing events that affected the lives of a half-dozen different Jews. In this case, reality doesn't need any authorial florishes to create suspense and terror, and Gross's restraint as a writer highlights his subjects and lets them tell their stories in a very personal way. More than just a war history, this is an examination of the human spirit under seige.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Howard Horwitz on September 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
Very worthwhile book. It was fascinating because it dealt with ordinary people in probably the most extraordinary circumstances. These multiple tales of survival explore what it took for persons who could easily be our friends, our neighbors, our familiy, to heroically survive in the midst of their hometown enemies while undergoing the privations of war. Substantively an excellent book.
I would caution you, however, that the tales are presented in a disjointed fashion, and I would recommend taking notes at the beginning on who's who in order to keep up with the players.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Anais Nin on March 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
Leonard Gross's well-researched and well-documented book about a few of the Jewish 'U-Boats' who survived in hiding in Hitler's 'Juden-Frei' Berlin is truly magnificent.

It reads like a thriller but every bit of it is true. I found it informative, well-written and very accessable, unlike similar works, (Such as 'Stella' by Peter Wyden) which, while also well-reseached and well-informed, were dry and hard to follow.

Less than 1% of the Jews that lived in Berlin before Hitler came into power were there after the fall of Berlin (some having escaped, most having been banished to the death camps), and the fact that Gross was able to get several of these survivor's stories is just incredible.

The characters were truly alive and I acutely felt every joy, every danger, every near capture and had to stop reading several times because it was all too real and terrifying, especially the horrifying concept that some turncoat Jews, thier own people, were hunting for them.

This is an unbelievably compelling piece of work that deserves to be read by everyone and I cannot recommend it strongly enough.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By madsenmel on November 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is one of my favorite books, not only because of the wonderful narrative, compelling characters, and inspiring stories, but because of the variety of circumstances these Jews found themselves in. Some went into hiding, some passed themselves off as Gentiles, some collaborated with the resistance, and all managed to survive. Some had no help and were separated from loved ones, some managed to keep their families somewhat intact. Their struggles, defeats, and victories are inspiring and a testament to the nature of the human spirit.
A small note: the stories are not told sequentially, and it may be easier the first time to skip chapters and read each person's tale completely, otherwise it becomes a tad overwhelming to keep track of so many characters.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By stumbellina on May 14, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is literally one of the best books I have ever read. I got it on a Friday evening from a tiny bookshop in Berlin, where I live, and could not put it down until I finished it the next night. Wonderfully written..factual but reads like a spellbinding story.Gives an entirely new perspective to the reality of Jews in hiding from the Nazis...A reality which is much different from the 'ann frank' experience which we are so well-aquainted with, which is from a child's perspective. This enlightens us to the real day to day plight---the enormous expense, nosy neighbors, how to keep one's self clean so as to not arouse suspicion..having to keep multiple hide-outs simultaneously and constantly be on the move, on the run.. The 'good germans' who quietly helped them, by turning a blindeye and not asking questions, knowing that the truth and the gravity of the situation in terms of the own personal safetly..and the others who did so only for profit.
It brought my city to LIFE for me. And I will never look at it the same way again.
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