Levan Institute Book Chat—Wolf Gruner, Resisters: How Ordinary Jews Fought Persecution in Hitler's Germany


A discussion of Wolf Gruner's, Resisters: How Ordinary Jews Fought Persecution in Hitler's Germany (Yale University Press, 2023). The author will be joined in conversation by Avinoam Patt (New York University) and Wendy Lower (Claremont McKenna College), moderated by Steve Ross (USC).  Co-organized by the USC Casden Institute for the Study of the Jewish Role in American Life, the USC Dornsife Center for Advanced Genocide Research, and the UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies. Registration is required. REGISTER HERE


About the Book: Drawing on twelve years of research in dozens of archives in Austria, Germany, Israel, and the United States, Resisters tells the story of five Jewish people—a merchant, a homemaker, a real estate broker, and two teenagers—who bravely resisted persecution and defended themselves in Nazi Germany. These stories have not been told until now, and each case is one of many, as Gruner shows by resurfacing similar accounts of Jewish refusal to accept persecution and violence in Germany and Austria between 1933 and 1943, upending the notion of passive Jews and expanding the concept of resistance.
Each individual described here represents a category of resistance: written opposition, oral protest, contesting Nazi propaganda, defiance of anti-Jewish laws and measures, and self-defense against physical attacks. Many of these courageous acts resulted in the resisters being prosecuted and put on trial, and often receiving harsh punishments, while some led to acquittal by courts and others to changes in Nazi policies. Taken together, these accounts reframe our understanding of German Jewish attitudes during the Holocaust, while also providing an astonishing examination of the complex Nazi reactions to the many individual acts of Jewish resistance.


About the Author: Wolf Gruner is Shapell-Guerin Chair in Jewish Studies and Professor of History. Originally from Germany, Professor Gruner is a historian and a specialist in Holocaust and German-Jewish history. Most recently, he is the author of Resisters: How Ordinary Jews Fought Persecution in Hitler's Germany (Yale University Press, 2023). He has also authored several books, coedited volumes, and numerous articles and contributed chapters including The Holocaust in Bohemia and Moravia: Czech Initiatives, German Policies, Jewish Responses (Berghahn Books, 2019). Professor Gruner is the founding director of the USC Dornsife Center of Advanced Genocide Research, a member of the Academic Committee of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC, and co-founder of the Consortium of Higher Education Centers for Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Studies.


Open to attendants outside of USC. An excerpt of the book will be made available to registered attendants. Registration before the event is required. 


Levan Institute for the Humanities Book Chats


This event is part of the Levan Institute for the Humanities' “Book Chats” series, conversations about new books published by USC scholars in the humanities and humanistic social sciences. To see more events in this series, including recordings of past events, visit https://dornsife.usc.edu/levan-institute/book-chats/.

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