Synopses & Reviews
From April 1933 to early 1943, Bernard Loesener served as the official Jewish Expert” in the German Third Reich's Ministry of the Interior, the government body responsible for the Nazi's legislative assault on German Jewry. In that role, he personally drafted much of the legislation, the Nuremberg Laws of 1935 preeminently, that gradually dispossessed, disenfranchised, and dehumanized the Jews of Nazi Germany. During the first six years of Nazi rule, the seminal period of government-sponsored anti-Semitism, Loesener kept the minutes of many crucial, high-level, inter-ministerial conferences concerned with the Jewish Question.” As observer and participant, his experiences were virtually unparalleled. In 1950, Loesener penned a memoir that sought to explain, and justify, his actions during the ten-year escalation of Nazi oppression that resulted, to Loesener's professed horror, in the Final Solution. It was published in 1961, in German, by the journal Vierteljahrshefte fuer Zeitgeschichte. It has never before appeared in English, until now - in Legislating the Holocaust.
The Loesener memoir offers a rare insiders view into the functioning of the Nazi system and Schleuness essay provides an analysis of how Loeseners activities served to promote as well as hinder that functioning.
About the Author
Karl A. Schleunes is professor of history at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. He is the author of The Twisted Road to Auschwitz: Nazi Policy Toward German Jews, 1933-1939. He is currently working on a book on the German background to the Holocaust which is to be part of series titled A Comprehensive History Holocaust” sponsored by Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial Institute in Jerusalem.