The Lion and the Star: Gentile-Jewish Relations in Three Hessian Towns, 1919-1945

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The Lion and the Star not only offers an informed glimpse into the intricacies of daily German life but also confirms the continuing danger of making sweeping generalizations about German Jews and non-Jews. In the aftermath of World War II, many viewed the Third Reich as an aberration in German history and laid blame with Hitler and his followers. Since the 1960s, historians have widened their focus, implicating ordinary Germans in the demise of German Jewry. Jonathan Friedman addresses this issue by investigation everyday relations between German Jews and their Gentile neighbors. Friedman examines three German communities of different sizes-Frankfurt am Main, Giessen, and Geisenheim. Symbolized by the Hessian heraldic lion, these communities represent a cross-section of both Gentile and Jewish society in Germany during the Weimar and Nazi years. Researching in the United States, Germany, England, and Israel, he gleaned information from interviews, memoirs, diaries, letters, newspapers, church and synagogue records, censuses, government documents, and reports from Nazi and resistance organizations. Friedman's comparative analysis offers a balanced response to recent scholarly works condemning the entire German people for their complicity in the Holocaust.