In the immediate aftermath of World War II, more than a quarter million Jewish survivors of the Holocaust lived among their defeated persecutors in the chaotic society of Allied-occupied Germany. Jews, Germans, and Allies draws upon the wealth of diary and memoir literature by the people who lived through postwar reconstruction to trace the conflicting ways Jews and Germans defined their own victimization and survival, comprehended the trauma of war and genocide, and struggled to rebuild their lives.
In gripping and unforgettable detail, Atina Grossmann describes Berlin in the days following Germany's surrender--the mass rape of German women by the Red Army, the liberated slave laborers and homecoming soldiers, returning political exiles, Jews emerging from hiding, and ethnic German refugees fleeing the East. She chronicles the hunger, disease, and homelessness, the fraternization with Allied occupiers, and the complexities of navigating a world where the commonplace mingled with the horrific. Grossmann untangles the stories of Jewish survivors inside and outside the displaced-persons camps of the American zone as they built families and reconstructed identities while awaiting emigration to Palestine or the United States. She examines how Germans and Jews interacted and competed for Allied favor, benefits, and victim status, and how they sought to restore normality--in work, in their relationships, and in their everyday encounters.
Jews, Germans, and Allies shows how Jews were integral participants in postwar Germany and bridges the divide that still exists today between German history and Jewish studies.
"Atina Grossmann's great insight is that the postwar reappearance of a traumatized Jewish population--and the survivors' high rates of marriage, pregnancy and childbearing--cannot be understood apart from the parallel victimhood of the 'German' population."--Paul Grant, Books & Culture
"Grossmann has succeeded marvelously in reintegrating the history of Jews into the history of postwar Germany. Her book . . . is an essential contribution to the social and cultural history of the immediate postwar era."--Benjamin Lapp, Central European History
"Grossmann, herself the daughter of German-Jewish refugees, . . . has written the definitive history of [Allied-occupied Germany]."--Jewish Post and News
"Atina Grossman has written an exceptionally fascinating book. . . . Atina Grossman has done us all a great service."--Julia Schulze Wessel, Shofar
"Atina Grossman's tale of the complicated relationship between surviving Jews, Germans, and Allies is enthralling and well written. The author has an eye for the telling anecdote and genuine sympathy for the people she writes about. Her extensive and creative use of German and Yiddish sources and her family connections to the Jewish DPs make the book both personal and scholarly."--Hal Elliott Wert, Journal of Military History
"Despite legend and conventional wisdom, there was intense interaction between Jews and Germans. Germans and Jews have both overlooked or forgotten this episode in their joint history, which Grossmann brings to life with a particularly fascinating examination of gendered experience and sexuality."--Jay Howard Geller, American Historical Review
"This book makes a significant contribution by illuminating the fascinating and complex interactions between surviving Jews and their neighbors in postwar Germany."--Timothy Schroer, H-Net Reviews
Table of Contents:
List of Illustrations ix
Preface: Where Is Feldafing? xiii
INTRODUCTION: Entangled Histories and Close Encounters 1
CHAPTER ONE: "Poor Germany": Berlin and the Occupation 15
CHAPTER TWO: Gendered Defeat: Rape, Motherhood, and Fraternization 48
CHAPTER THREE: "The survivors were few and the dead were many": Jews in Occupied Berlin 88
CHAPTER FOUR: The Saved and Saving Remnant: Jewish Displaced Persons in the American Zone 131
CHAPTER FIVE: Mir Zaynen Do: Sex, Work, and the DP Baby Boom 184
CHAPTER SIX: Conclusion: The "Interregnum" Ends 237
Abbreviations in Notes 269
Select Bibliography 359