Cover image for In the eye of the storm : growing up Jewish in Germany, 1918-1943 : a memoir
In the eye of the storm : growing up Jewish in Germany, 1918-1943 : a memoir
Strauss, Herbert Arthur.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Fordham University Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xii, 262 pages, 12 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, portraits ; 24 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


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Material Type
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Item Holds
DS135.G5 S76 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Originally published in Germany in 1997, Herbert A. Strauss In The Eye of The Storm: Growing Up Jewish in Germany, 1918-1943, A Memoir is not merely a memoir, or biography, but rather a description of a life embedded in the history of the Jewish community. It is the story of Jewish life, both pre-Nazi Germany and during Nazi Germany.

Born in 1913 to a Christian mother and a Jewish father, Strauss was raised in a conservative Jewish fashion, studying Hebrew and Jewish history. Like many other Jews, he took little notice as the anti-Semitism of Nazi culture began to seep into his daily life. He remarks of when he was a boy, how amused he was, when during a school genetics lesson, he was selected as the embodiment of a perfect Aryan. But, as Strauss grew older the story changed. Restrictions placed on Jews became more increasingly harsh and he began to feel apprehensive. Yet, while still a student at the Hochshule, a remarkable Jewish school that the Nazis permitted to function until the early months of 1942, Strauss still refused to believe that things could get much worse, and went on concerning himself with his education in the Humanities. However, by late 1942, after he was shut out of the academic world, made a street cleaner, and then forced into hiding, along with his girlfriend (now wife), Lotte, Strauss finally came to the truth of what was happening. A truth he could hardly believe. Both he and Lotte escaped from the Gestapo, with help from the Jewish underground and Frau Meier, a Catholic, who supplied forged documents so that they could enter Switzerland.

Author Notes

Herbert A. Strauss is Professor Emeritus of History at the City College of New York and former Director of the Center for Antisemitism Research, Technical University of Berlin.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

In June 1943, at age 25, Strauss escaped to Switzerland after a harrowing decade under the Third Reich. Combining personal recollections with meticulous archival research, site visits, and interviews, this poignant and articulate memoir deals forthrightly with several major issues of Holocaust historiography, including the callous behavior of ordinary Germans towards the Jews, the collaboration of leading Jewish figures with Nazi officials, the widespread awareness of Germany's wartime population of the deportations and murder of the Jews, and the exclusionist policies of outside governments such as Switzerland. Strauss, who became an eminent professional historian in the US and West Germany, includes photographs of lost and saved family and friends and an "honor roll" of protectors, along with a fascinating intellectual and personal account of his own role in a "momentous historic drama." Joining Karl Schleunes's The Twisted Road to Auschwitz (CH, Jan'71), Leonard Baker's Days of Sorry and Pain (1978), Marion Kaplan's Beneath Dignity and Despair (1998), Peter Gay's My German Question (CH, Mar'99), and Victor Klemperer's I Will Bear Witness (1998), Strauss's recollections represent not only a refutation of collective German guilt but also a fair and scrupulous tribute to the courage and sacrifice of Hitler's victims. All levels. C. Fink; Ohio State University

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Prefacep. xi
1. German Jewish Piety: Wurzburg, 1918-1929p. 1
2. High School, Apprenticeship: Wurzburg, 1929-1936p. 30
3. Youth Movement and Zionist Student Collective: Berlin, 1936-1938p. 62
4. General Studies: Berlin, November 1936 to September 1, 1939p. 75
5. Wissenschaft des Judentums: Berlin, September 1939-January 1942p. 113
6. Abitur: Berlin, March 1942p. 166
7. Forced Labor: Berlin, January 10-October 24, 1942p. 172
8. Underground in Berlin, October 24, 1942-June 9, 1943p. 183
9. Escape to Switzerland, June 12-13, 1943p. 225
Indexp. 257