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A public lecture organized by Holocaust Museum LA

 

Join author Wolf Gruner as he discusses his new book, a highly original and compelling account of individual Jews who resisted Nazi persecution, challenging the traditional portrayal of Jewish passivity during the Holocaust.
 

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About

 

A highly original and compelling account of individual Jews who resisted Nazi persecution, challenging the traditional portrayal of Jewish passivity during the Holocaust. 

 

Drawing on twelve years of research in dozens of archives in Austria, Germany, Israel, and the United States, this book 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.

 

“This important book shows in great detail, on the basis of numerous moving and often heartwrenching individual stories, that German and Austrian Jews often rebelled against and resisted their oppressors in a variety of ways. Gruner has given us a crucial corrective to the historiography of the Holocaust.”—Omer Bartov, author of Tales from the Borderlands: Making and Unmaking the Galician Past 

 

“This deeply researched and highly original study highlights multiple forms and cases of courageous recalcitrance on the part of German Jews subjected to Nazi persecution. A welcome book as both a tribute to the tormented protagonists and a corrective to the historical record.”—Peter Hayes, author of Why?: Explaining the Holocaust

 

Wolf Gruner is the Shapell Guerin Chair in Jewish Studies and Professor of History at the University of Southern California. He is the founding director of the USC Dornsife Center for Advanced Genocide Research, and the author of ten books on the Holocaust. He lives in Los Angeles, CA.
 

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