Cover image for Exodus to Berlin : the return of the Jews to Germany
Exodus to Berlin : the return of the Jews to Germany
Laufer, Peter.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Chicago : Ivan R. Dee, [2003]

Physical Description:
xii, 237 pages : maps, portraits ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DS135.G4 B4654 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



This book tells the story of the migration of Soviet block Jews who were invited by the German government to come make a new life in prosperous and democratic Germany.

Author Notes

Peter Laufer, an international news correspondent, won the George Polk Award for his radio documentary on Americans imprisoned overseas. He has also written Iron Curtain Rising and Nightmare Abroad, and with Jeff Kamen produced a documentary film on the subject of this book, which was awarded the David Wolper Documentary Film Prize. He lives in Sonoma Country, California

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Laufer writes of the resurgence of theewish community in Germany, which began after the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, and the simultaneous rise of neo-Nazi, racist, nationalistic, and anti-Semitic violence. At the beginning of this century, Germany became the nation with the fastest-growing population ofews in the world. Laufer informs us "this unexpected surge ofews into a reunified Germany not only surprised bothews and Germans, it occurred without much of the world noticing." He explains that thousands of mostly Russian and Ukrainianews are seeking and receiving sanctuary from the anti-Semitism, violence, and economic chaos "that distort the former Soviet Union and its former satellites." By 2003, more than 100,000ews had gone to Germany. Laufer's research includes dozens of interviews withews and neo-Nazis. Although government-provided benefits help theews establish themselves in Germany, the idea ofews moving there remains repugnant for many. The author of Iron Curtain Rising (1991) and Nightmare Abroad (1993) has written an impartial and compelling account of this modern-day migration. --George Cohen Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Germany's burgeoning Jewish population is one of the more compelling European phenomena during the past decade. Laufer, a former NBC News correspondent and award-winning documentary filmmaker, relies on dozens of interviews to paint a comprehensive-although less than compelling-portrait of the fastest-growing Jewish community in the world today. He scours the entire country and examines all the angles of the phenomenon: Holocaust survivors who never left; immigrants from the former Soviet Union, who have provided much of the growth; even Israelis of German descent who want to have German citizenship in case Israeli-Palestinian violence becomes too much to bear. All too often, one wishes that Laufer had probed a bit deeper into questions of identity; too many times, he asks only the simple question, "Do you feel German [or Ukrainian] or Jewish?" Laufer also explores the non-Jewish German side of the equation: he interviews German teens attending a demonstration against anti-Semitism and visits with a group of neo-Nazis and a rabbi who was taunted and then beaten for being Jewish. But the portrait that emerges is optimistic, of a society that is moving forward even as it struggles to deal with the terrible legacy of Nazism. Laufer even profiles Hellmut Stern, a Jewish musician who left Germany on the eve of WWII and has now returned to take up a chair in the Berlin Philharmonic. "They are dead," he says of the Nazis. "We are here. That is a triumph." The book is a partial triumph as well. B&w photos. (Oct. 3) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Prefacep. vii
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
1 A Reluctant Move to Germanyp. 3
2 German Schoolgirls Talk About Skinheadsp. 11
3 Germans and Immigrant Jews Struggle to Coexistp. 15
4 The Legacy of German Anti-Semitismp. 26
5 Berlin's Jewish Survivorsp. 36
6 Who Is a Jew?p. 52
7 Emigrants Long for a German Visap. 58
8 Along the Border That Jews Can Ignorep. 66
9 The Lingering Berlin "Wall in the Head"p. 74
10 Jews Ponder Assimilationp. 90
11 Jews Rooted in Berlinp. 97
12 Christian Germans Protest Anti-Semitismp. 105
13 Berliners Analyze the Tolerance Demonstrationp. 119
14 Inside an Insidious Neo-Nazi Paradep. 128
15 Another Jewish Cemetery Is Desecratedp. 139
16 Escalating Neo-Nazi Crimesp. 148
17 Rebuilding Berlin's Jewish Lifep. 159
18 A Visit with Hitler's New Followers and Their Leaderp. 171
19 A Jewish Berliner Discounts the Neo-Nazisp. 187
20 The Weary Nazi-chasing Copp. 200
21 Song and Dancep. 214
Epilogue: Alexandr Rojsenblat Becomes a German Jewp. 220
Notesp. 225
Indexp. 229