Michael GeheranSep 22, 2021
Jewish World War I Veterans under Hitler
Cornell University Press 2020
What claims could Jewish veterans make on the Nazi state by virtue of their having fought for Germany? How often did Germans treat Jewish veterans differently from Jewish men without military experience during the Weimar and Nazi periods? How did perceptions of masculinity and of Germanness intersect to shape attitudes and behaviors of Jewish veterans?
Michael Geheran's wonderful new book Comrades Betrayed: Jewish World War I Veterans under Hitler (Cornell UP, 2020) tries to understand how Jewish participation in World War I shaped their lives in 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. He uses a seemingly never-ending supply of diaries, letters, journals and other sources to paint a compelling picture of the ways in which German Jews understood their identities and influenced their interactions with Germans and with the restrictions imposed by the Nazi Government. It raises new questions about how to periodize the Holocaust and how to think about the role of Germans--both civilian and military--in the persecution and elimination of German Jews.
Kelly McFall is Professor of History and Director of the Honors Program at Newman University.