German Jews Confront Nazism, Otto Dov Kulka (Hrsg.), Anne Birkenhauer und Esriel Hildeseimer (Mitarbeiter), Deutsches Judentum unter dem Nationalsozialismus. Dokumente zur Geschichte der Reichsvertretung der deutschen Juden 1933-1939, Band 1
This collection of Reichsvertretung documents collected, annotated, and introduced by Otto Dov Kulka, presents the internal world of German Jewry and their coping with Nazi policies from 1933 onwards. Inspired by Yitzhak Baer’s observation that “a people’s fate cannot be understood unless one understands how the people perceives its own fate, its attitude toward God, and its history,” the editor sought to explore the connection between the reality within which Jews lived in Nazi Germany and their history. He notes their pluralistic character and the democratic and humanistic nature of their organization, which, contrary to some opinions that it was a Nazi tool, tried despite everything to maintain the tradition of leadership developed by the community over time. The heads of the Reichsvertretung, working out of idealistic motives, devoted much attention to education, care for youth, welfare, and emigration, and achieved not-inconsequential results. The collection of documents, even the “dry” ones among them, enable a new and enriching reading of German Jewish history in the years 1933-1939, and provides information that future research will have to address.