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My German Question: Growing Up in Nazi Berlin

My German Question: Growing Up in Nazi Berlin

By Peter Gay

“Not a single paragraph is superfluous. His inquiry rivets without let up, powered by its unremitting candor.”—Frederic Morton, Los Angeles Times Book Review

“[Gay’s] writing is smooth, a sound historian’s instrument…Gay’s story could hardly be anything other than interesting, and one is glad about the happy outcome of his family’s afflictions and his own feeling that his gift has been ‘an astonishing gift.’”—Frank Kermode, New York Times Book Review

"Peter Gay’s account of his boyhood in Nazi Germany is written with the sensitivity for hidden meanings and implications one would expect of him. . . . . It is becoming ever more difficult to recapture the dire atmosphere of the 1930s, and the analytical abstractions of present-day historiography are sometimes deficient in realism. Gay’s book provides a valuable antidote."—Edgar Feuchtwanger, Journal of Jewish Studies

In this poignant book, a renowned historian tells of his youth as an assimilated, anti-religious Jew in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1939—"the story, " says Peter Gay, 'of a poisoning and how I dealt with it.' Gay describes his family, the life they led, and the reasons they did not emigrate sooner, and he explores his own ambivalent feelings—then and now—toward Germany and the Germans. Even before the events of 1938-39, culminating in Kristallnacht, the family was convinced that they must leave the country. Gay describes the bravery and ingenuity of his father in working out the agonizing emigration process, the courage of the non-Jewish friends who helped his family during their last bitter months in Germany, and the family's mounting panic as they witnessed the indifference of other countries to their plight and that of others like themselves. Gay's account—marked by candor, modesty, and insight -- adds an important and curiously neglected perspective to the history of German Jewry.

Paperback
208 pages
Yale University Press, 1999
9.2 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
ISBN 9780300080704
Autobiographical, Memoir, German History

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