- Hardcover: 372 pages
- Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; 2000 edition (December 1, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312219539
- ISBN-13: 978-0312219536
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,408,807 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Divided Lives: The Untold Stories of Jewish-Christian Women in Nazi Germany 2000th Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
In recent years, Holocaust scholarship has begun to uncover many little-known tragedies, such as the persecutions of homosexuals and Gypsies under German national socialism. Crane (an assistant professor of English at Raymond Waters College in Ohio) focuses on the persecution of "mischlings," children of mixed Jewish and Christian marriagesAspecifically, 10 women whose racial identity was frequently unclear, as some were not practicing Jews and some did not even regard themselves as Jewish. Supplemented by an overview of the history and details of the intricate laws that determined which German citizens were to be classified as Jews or mischlings (literally "half-breeds"), the interviews offer the reader a precise and often frightening inside look at life for mischlings under the Third Reich. In each of the 10 transcribed monologues, each woman's cadences, complexities and individuality come through, along with startling details. For example, Ilsa B, who was born to an "Aryan" father and Jewish mother and who lost relatives in the Holocaust, is able to say of the attention that has been paid to the Nazi persecution of Jews, "'I don't know why this Jewish thing stands out so much." Most powerful is the sheer repetition of everyday details and incidents, such as the observance of Christmas in a mixed marriage, a child's walk to school past "Hitler" oaks and swastika flags, and the ways that natural quarreling among family members became frighteningly loaded under Nazi repression. While none of the historical material is new and Crane makes no pretense to original interpretations, the voices and stories she collects have not been heard in such detail before and are a welcome addition to Holocaust and Jewish studies. (Dec. 1)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
These tales of "mixed families," considered "non-Aryan" by the Third Reich, bring home the awful discrimination of that time. In some cases, Aryans were pressured to divorce their non-Aryan spouses; children from these families were denied educational opportunities and barred from prestigious careers. Crane (English, Raymond Walters Coll.) was naturally drawn to these stories, as her grandparents were such a mixed couple who left Europe in 1938. Her interest lies in the uses of autobiography to heal such trauma. For this book, she has interviewed ten now-elderly women about their wartime experiences. After a brief introduction to each chapter, she lets each woman tell her story in her own way. Although none had previously identified with the Jewish tradition, each experienced the loss of family and friends in the camps. All remained in Germany after World War II or returned after living abroad and now think of themselves as German, despite their ordeals. Crane has succeeded in telling new stories on an old theme. Recommended for Holocaust and women's studies collections.DMarcia L. Sprules, Council on Foreign Relations Lib., New York
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
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From the little boy who was beaten by nazi teachers because his father was Jewish, to the little girl whose Jewish father fled to America but sent divorce papers to his gentile wife, the stories here are in many ways far from pleasant. But not all the perpetrators are from the same group. A husband kicked out of the nazi party because of his wife's heritage, balanced against that of a girl kicked out of the BDM because of her heritage, only to discover after moving into in her new town the local BDM leadress telling her she was going to be in the BDM whether she liked or not 'unofficially'. A girl whose policeman father was driven mad by the stress and murdered by the T4 fiends to the loss of so many Jewish relatives by each, this is a very insightful book.
Life was not happy for these women when they were girls. Being prevented form joining the BDM because of their heritage or kicked out if the BDM found out. Being kept out of many things. Being stuck in the middle of nazi germany with less than politically correct heritage under allied bombs. Somehow they survived to tell their stories.
I didn't think it was up the the standards of Hitler's Jewish Soldiers, but that book drew from a larger pool of individuals.
But within its small scale, it's pretty good.
The author did her interviews during the mid-nineties, pretty much just before it was too late. All of these women were old; the youngest were in their seventies and there were some that were in their nineties. I wouldn't be surprised if every one of them has since died. One of the interviewees had suffered from mental/emotional problems for much of her life and committed suicide after her interview.
This is a good collection, though somewhat narrow in scope: the interviewees were all at least in their teens and often fully adult during the Nazi era, and I think all of them remained in Germany after the war. It would have been interesting if men had been included in the study, and also Jewish-Christian people who moved to other countries after the war -- that is, most of them. I think there's got to be something different about the people who chose to stay.
For Crane this book is a personal journey. Her paternal grandparents, her grandfather was Jewish and her grandmother Christian, emigrated to America to escape persecution. Because of her personal background, the women in this book trusted her, most of whom told their story for the first time. The deep scars, the inner division, the nightmares, the trauma remained. Three of the women’s mothers were deported to the camps, but survived, while two fathers did not. Some fathers escaped Germany, having to leave their families behind. Others saw Jewish relatives be deported to the camps, never to return.
Crane honors each of the women by letting them tell their story in their own words. For example, there is Ingeborg Hecht, the well-known author and lecturer, who had stayed in her apartment for 30 years after the war. It was only through the writing of her well-received first book, Invisible Walls, that she freed herself to step out into the world once more. Or Ruth Yost, who was very close to her Jewish father, and who cried for fifteen hours, after they were re-united. She later took her life.
This is a very special, sensitive and insightful book. I can’t recommend it highly enough to anyone interested in this often overlooked chapter of German history.