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Original Essays | April 11, 2014

Paul Laudiero: IMG Shit Rough Draft

I was sitting in a British and Irish romantic drama class my last semester in college when the idea for Shit Rough Drafts hit me. I was working... Continue »
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Life and Loss in the Shadow of the Holocaust: A Jewish Family's Untold Story


Life and Loss in the Shadow of the Holocaust: A Jewish Family's Untold Story Cover

ISBN13: 9780521899918
ISBN10: 0521899915
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A family's recently-discovered correspondence provides the inspiration for this fascinating and deeply-moving account of Jewish family life before, during and after the Holocaust. Rebecca Boehling and Uta Larkey reveal how the Kaufmann-Steinberg family was pulled apart under the Nazi regime and left divided between Germany, the US and Palestine. The family's unique eight-way correspondence across two generations brings into sharp focus the dilemma of Jews in Nazi Germany facing the painful decision of when and if they should leave Germany. The authors capture the family members' fluctuating emotions of hope, optimism, resignation and despair as well as the day-to-day concerns, experiences and dynamics of family life despite increasing persecution and impending deportation. Headed by two sisters who were among the first female business owners in Essen, the family was far from conventional, and their story contributes a new dimension to our understanding of life in Germany during these dark years.


A uniquely fascinating and moving account of a German-Jewish family under the Third Reich and Holocaust.

About the Author

Rebecca Boehling is Professor of History and Director of the Dresher Center for the Humanities at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.Uta Larkey is Associate Professor of German Studies at Goucher College, Baltimore.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction; 2. German-Jewish lives from Emancipation through the Weimar Republic; 3. Losing one's business and citizenship: the Geschwister Kaufmann, 1933-1938; 4. Professional roadblocks and personal detours: Lotti and Marianne, 1933-1938; 5. The November Pogrom (1938) and its consequences for Kurt and his family; 6. New beginnings in Palestine, 1935-1939: Lotti and Kurt; 7. Rescuing loved ones trapped in Nazi Germany, 1939-1942; 8. Wartime rumors and postwar revelations; 9. Epilogue.

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Elaine, September 1, 2011 (view all comments by Elaine)
This book provides a very interesting view of life in pre-holocaust Germany through a series of letters among different members of a German Jewish family living in Germany, Palestine, and the US. A remarkable cache of recently discovered letters show the strains and growing repressive realities as expressed in real time (as opposed to reconstructed views of what happened). These were ordinary educated German Jews. The family had lived in Germany for many generations and considered themselves thoroughly German. They owned a business and the three children were just completing their studies as a doctor, a dentist and a lawyer when the repressive anti-Jewish laws were being enacted which prevented Jews from working in many professions. One of the things that makes this narrative especially interesting is the fact that while those left behind in Germany were ultimately killed in concentration camps, both sides of the "conversation" remain. Often we have letters in one direction, but not the other leading to a confusing monologue. In this case there is a true dialogue. Of course we all know the end of the story, but these letters tell the story from the point of view of ordinary Jews both within and outside Germany as it was happening.

I have just finished reading Eric Larson's "In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin" which is a very different view of what was going on in pre-holocaust Germany, through the diary and letters of an American (non-Jewish) diplomat and his family living in Berlin.

Read as a pair, these two books provide a fascinating and contrasting picture of what people understood, from very different perspectives.
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Product Details

Boehling, Rebecca
Cambridge University Press
Larkey, Uta
World History-European History General
Europe - General
Publication Date:
42 b/w illus.
8.98 x 5.98 x 0.94 in 1.52 lb

Related Subjects

Biography » Historical
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » History of Medicine
History and Social Science » World History » European History General
History and Social Science » World History » General
History and Social Science » World History » Germany » General
History and Social Science » World History » Holocaust
Religion » Comparative Religion » General
Religion » Judaism » History
Religion » Judaism » Jewish History

Life and Loss in the Shadow of the Holocaust: A Jewish Family's Untold Story New Hardcover
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Product details 350 pages Cambridge University Press - English 9780521899918 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , A uniquely fascinating and moving account of a German-Jewish family under the Third Reich and Holocaust.
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