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I Sleep in Hitler's Room: An American Jew Visits Germany Paperback – September 27, 2011

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I Sleep in Hitler's Room: An American Jew Visits Germany + Joschka Fischer and the Making of the Berlin Republic: An Alternative History of Postwar Germany + German History in Modern Times: Four Lives of the Nation
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 358 pages
  • Publisher: Jewish Theater of New York, The; 1ST edition (September 27, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 098393990X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983939900
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #353,649 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Four months on the Spiegel Best Seller list of Germany (equivalent to the New York Times' Best Seller list in the USA)!

"A Stunner."

"Asking questions nobody else does, either because they are too improper, awkward, embarrassing or explosive, is the definition of courage -- and this book is a 'kamikaze' ride of discovery into Germany's national character." 
Die Zeit

"Hugely entertaining, terribly funny. A tremendous book."
National Review

"Clear, pure, unfiltered truth." 
Jüdische Allgemeine

About the Author

Tuvia Tenenbom is a journalist, author, dramatist and is the founder of The Jewish Theater of New York. Tuvia studied for his Doctorate in English Literature at St. John's University, earned his MFA in Playwriting at CUNY-Brooklyn, BS in Mathematics and Computer Science at Touro, and finished his Rabbinical Studies in Jerusalem. He also studied Christianity and Islam in Israel and NY, as well as Journalism, Acting, Theater and Finance (at NYU). Tuvia was named "Founder of a new form of Jewish theater" by the French Le Monde, "Founder of The Theater of Catastrophe" by the German Die Zeit, "The New Jew" by the Israeli Maariv, "Free artist who fights for truth & tolerance" by the Belgian Le Vif L'Express and "One of the most iconoclastic and innovative of contemporary dramatists" by the Italian Corriere Della Sera. Critic D.J.R. Bruckner. reviewing for the New York Times, described Tuvia's theatrical work "irresistibly fascinating," and Alisa Solomon, writing for the Village Voice, called it "theater of integrity, inquiry and chutzpah." As a journalist, Tuvia writes essays and op-ed articles for various publications. His articles and essays have been published in newspapers including Die Zeit of Germany, Corriere della Sera of Italy, and Yedioth Ahronoth of Israel as well as on various internet sites.

More About the Author

A four-month "Spiegel" Best Seller book in Germany (equivalent to the New York Times' Best Seller list in the USA)!

"Hugely entertaining, terribly funny. A tremendous book." -National Review

"A stunner!" -WABC

"Clear, pure, unfiltered truth." -Jüdische Allgemeine

"Michael Moore and 'Borat' in one." Die Welt

"Brilliant." Deutschlandradio

"Very funny, but also very sad." Cicero

"Exposes the roots of anti-Semitism with biting humor." -Report

"Rare wit. I couldn't put it down." -Winnipeg Jewish Review

"Asking questions nobody else does, either because they are too improper, awkward, embarrassing or explosive, is the definition of courage -- and this book is a 'kamikaze' ride of discovery into Germany's national character." -Die Zeit

"Congratulations on exposing the myth that German anti-Semitism is a thing of the past." -Rabbi Marvin Hier (Founder & Dean, Simon Wiesenthal Center)

"Courageous, funny, outrageously absurd." -Der Spiegel

"Satirical and sharp." -Yedioth Ahronoth

"Candid and unsettling." -Forward

"Tenenbom is a world champion." -Mittledeutsche Zeitung

"Tuvia Tenenbom comes off as a Jewish Hunter S Thompson, describing cringing encounters in Germany that strip away the veneer of sanity from his subjects . . . Every encounter with an interview subject is an experimental drama, redolent sometimes of Pinter or Beckett, more often of Brecht or the Marx Brothers . . . To understand Germans, one has to learn their language and live with them - or read Tenenbom's book." -Asia Times

"An Alarming account of anti-Semitism." -Haaretz

"Tenenbom's reportage of Germany is straightforward and readily formulated, mixed with a gentle despair and jibes, in addition to a good measure of self irony. Yet despite of the darkness Tenenbom encounters, and which he explores, this book is quite entertaining." -Spiegel Online

"It's a book in a category all its own--deeply sobering, depressing even, in its observations of the darker side of Germany, yet at the same time so chatty and engaging and laugh-out-loud funny that it's hard to put down. Tenenbom is an acute observer of his fellowman, but also a born entertainer, a comedian, who approaches his interview subjects--of whom there are dozens, ranging from leading political and cultural figures to folks he runs into on the street--as a combination inquisitor and tummler . . . A stunning account . . . Tenenbom is brilliant." -PJ Media

"The book is a gem. Even when the content is hard and harsh, it is still very entertaining and very funny. Cynical and ironic commentaries, crystal clear argumentation and ingenious observations give the book a light tone. It's enviable that Tenenbom succeeds again and again to pair the most atrocious monstrosities with just a mild mockery. He asks his interviewees simple questions, which they answer by revealing their exasperating world views. When reading these passages, despite of Tenenbom's humor, one feels the urge to bite into one's desk with pain, shame and rage. Tenenbom's finding of anti-Semitism is hard stuff indeed, but thanks to his populist style he can reach a readership that up to now had no access to this material." -Jungle World

Customer Reviews

Nevertheless, things are just not as bad as the author says they are.
A reader
Written very well, in a sharp and flowing narrative which is frequently very funny.
I'm still reading this book, but so far I have enjoyed reading every page.
patricia a long myers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By burtone3 on November 27, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is really for a North American audience. While German and other audiences might see some of the humor that is in the book, from looking at the comments most of them don't fully understand the book. The story is a classic cynical "East Coaster" visits the other and makes snarky comments left and right with obvious irony. The author could have been visiting Oklahoma, Timbuktu or Japan. Through his journey in Germany he learns about himself and provides a great narrative into the absurdities of mankind. Most European commenters are framing the lesson of the story as this: Germans are anti-semitic because they don't like Israel. That is not the story that I read. I read a story where a person who grows up with one culture (New York, Jewish, American) (Okay that was multiple cultures!) travels to another country where the standard story that people in that one culture (lets just say Americans this time) hear is very monotone - Germans feel guilty for the Holocaust and none of them could ever be anti-semitic, (with an American thinking that their definition of anti-semitic is the only version). What he finds is that Germans are people too. They are quirky and full of contradictions and hypocrisy just like everyone else because hey they are human. It also shows how people can become disconnected from history but firmly anchored to it at the same time. The author was trying to provide insight into why people think the way that they do and of course can not. After reading this book, my views on Germany or Germans or Jews has not changed. But it did provide insight into the fact that we are all humans and as such we will have weird opinions that can have important consequences. It is important to realize this and discuss this rather than trying to sweep it under a rug.Read more ›
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82 of 109 people found the following review helpful By Fabian Feger on December 4, 2012
Format: Paperback

First of all, please forgive me: My english is for sure not the best, as I am not a native english-speaker. I am from germany.

There is one thing you need to know: I am 38 years old. The storys of war - I only know them from my teachers, my grandpa (who is dead now), the books, and the cinema. "Schindler's list": a masterpiece. When I was a teen, I saw it with my class in cinema. And I had tears in my eyes. I wished them from my eyes, so that the other boys could't see them. Well, I am sure that one or another boy also shared one.

When first I heard of this book, I was really curious about it.
Now, I am really disappointed. And it makes me sad - when reading all these comments here - that there are people who really think that the typical german is antisemitic. The author has spoken with a few people, and he makes conclusions which seem to me very, very strange.

In reality, most people in germany really do not care if you are a jew or not. It simply does not interest them. In germany, you normally will never be asked if you are a jew. It does not matter. It matters, what kind of person you are, and your religion or your ethnic background is of no importance. I will not say that this is generally so. There are still people who share prejeduces. But they are everywhere. In every land. In germany, in the USA, as well as in Israel. Tenenbom also seems to be full of prejeduces. And it seems to me that he made his travel only for one purpuse: to confirm them.

It is true: Most germans do not agree with the politic of Israel. Does that make them antisemitic? I think: no. Because it's a political criticism, not one borne out of prejeduce against a religious or ethnic background.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Owen on June 6, 2013
Format: Paperback
I am writing as a non-Jewish American who has lived in Germany and Austria for 23 years. Tuvia Tenenbom's book is flawed, but should be read. Because he was forced to self-publish, the book is sloppy and needs an editor. Also, he overstates his case in his preface, undermining what he then goes on to write. The preface states, "this is a country that has not changed since Hitler's days in power." This is ridiculous hyperbole. There is a huge difference between people thinking that Jews control banks and people thinking that Jews are vermin that should be exterminated.
It's too bad, because much of what he captures in his Gonzo/Borat style is very true and very important. I will here repeat the wisdom that anti-Israeli attitudes are not of themselves anti-Semitic--but when I first came here and heard German opinions about Israel, my first thought was, "These people don't know any Jews." All of us know that the situation there is complex, but I have consistently experienced a strong sympathy for the Palestinian people and very little sympathy for the Jews who live in Israel and the constant threat they live with.
Also, he really gets at the dilemma of having a large Islamic minority living in a Western democracy. Although there are strong anti-Turkish attitudes among German people, the politically correct Germans bend over backwards to be tolerant--which winds up indirectly supporting fierce Islamic anti-Semitism. Tenenbom exposes this contradiction graphically.
Of course, as others have pointed out, both phenomena, anti-Israeli attitudes and large Islamic minorities, are common to every Western European country, and may be even more problematic in the UK and France than in Germany.
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