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Resistance of the Heart: Intermarriage and the Rosenstrasse Protest in Nazi Germany [Paperback]

Walter Lacqueur , Nathan Stoltzfus
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Feb 2001
"The Rosenstrasse protest . . . shows that a great number, probably a great majority . . . of the Aryan partners in mixed marriages did not forsake their Jewish spouses, despite often overwhelming pressures to do so. . . . What happened in this small and ordinary Berlin street was an extraordinary manifestation of courage at a time when such courage was often sadly absent."-from the foreword by Walter Laqueur "Goldhagen's Hitler's Willing Executioners created a furor with his sweeping and sensational claim that 'ordinary Germans' in Hitler's Reich were anti-Semites who had been longing for decades for the chance to kill the Jews. This timely new book by another young American historian presents another side to the picture. Stoltzfus is a careful and subtle historian and the result of his labors is no less sensational and thought-provoking."-Richard J. Evans, The Sunday Telegraph In February 1943 the Gestapo arrested approximately 10,000 Jews remaining in Berlin. Most died at Auschwitz. Two thousand of those Jews, however, had non-Jewish partners and were locked into a collection center on a street called Rosenstrasse. As news of the surprise arrest pulsed through the city, hundreds of Gentile spouses, mostly women, hurried to the Rosenstrasse in protest. A chant broke out: "Give us our husbands back." Over the course of a week protesters vied with the Gestapo for control of the street. Now and again armed SS guards sent the women scrambling for cover with threats that they would shoot. After a week the Gestapo released these Jews, almost all of whom survived the war. The Rosenstrasse Protest was the triumphant climax of ten years of resistance by intermarried couples to Nazi efforts to destroy their families. In fact, ninety-eight percent of German Jews who did not go into hiding and who survived Nazism lived in mixed marriages. Why did Hitler give in to the protesters? Using interviews with survivors and thousands of Nazi records never before examined in detail, Nathan Stoltzfus identifies the power of a special type of resistance-the determination to risk one's own life for the life of loved ones. A "resistance of the heart." Nathan Stoltzfus teaches history at Florida State University. Resistance of the Heart won the Fraenkel Prize of the Institute of Contemporary History and Wiener Library and was selected as a "book of the year" by The New Statesman.

Product details

  • Paperback: 418 pages
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press; New edition edition (1 Feb 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813529093
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813529097
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,474,597 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a brilliant study of an extraordinary incident 11 Sep 1999
By A Customer
The author examines in great detail the imposition of Nazi laws against the Jews, from 1933 onwards, and how this affected people in mixed marriages, or children of mixed marriages. Having deported to Auschwitz most of the Jews of Berlin, in February 1943 the Nazis decided to deport Jews married to Germans. There was a spontaneous protest outside the collection centre on Rosenstrasse, which lasted for several days, but eventually 2000 Jews were released. An extraordinary story, with many lessons for our time, and based on many personal interviews as well as detailed archive sources. A book I thoroughly recommend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This is an excellent explanation of how mixed marriages between Aryans and non-Aryans (Jews as well as Christians with "Jewish blood") were affected by the Nazi laws. The offspring of these marriages were half-Aryans, half-Jews or Mischlinge. My father, a pure Aryan lost his job as a high school teacher in 1937, my brother was killed in Auschwitz.
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Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best book on Mischehen and Mischlinge in Nazi Germany 24 Mar 1999
By eiramesor@aol.com - Published on Amazon.com
This is an excellent explanation of how mixed marriages between Aryans and non-Aryans (Jews as well as Christians with "Jewish blood") were affected by the Nazi laws. The offspring of these marriages were half-Aryans, half-Jews or Mischlinge. My father, a pure Aryan lost his job as a high school teacher in 1937, my brother was killed in Auschwitz.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true MUST-READ and I don't say that often 6 Mar 2001
By K. Corn - Published on Amazon.com
A fascinating account of one of the most successful protests during the Nazi regime,spurred by the many couples who were intermarried Germans (one spouse Jewish, one not). When the Jewish partners in the marriage were taken away by the Germans, the remaining spouses reacted angrily, culminating in the Rosenstrasse protest of February 1943. This book is a very detailed and powerful look at the heart of a nation - and its peoples. The author interviewed survivors and looked at literally thousands of Nazi records that had never before been examined. I found this book to be very inspiring and couldn't help wondering: what if more people had protested the injustices of Hitler's regime even earlier- could the Holocaust actually have been prevented?
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Resistance of the Heart 27 Oct 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
An account of the protest wages by the Protestant spouses of German Jews. Because of the tumultuous emotions of my surviving relatives, so much of this history was never discussed in my home. Now I know that the reason for my grandfather's survival was the protest in which my grandmother participated. This book created a starting point to open discussion with my mother on this part of her life. I found the book so powerful that I am purchasing another as a gift.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST MUST READ 10 Mar 2002
By Fred M. Blum - Published on Amazon.com
Resistance of the Heart : Intermarriage and the Rosenstrasse Protest in Nazi Germany by Nathan Stoltzfus is a well written book about the unsuccessful attempt by the Nazi's to exterminate Jews who married Germans of the Christian faith. The fact that the attempt was unsuccessful and that the overwhelming majority of the intermarried Jews were never sent to the death camps and survived the war leaves one with a withering feeling of "what if."
The central thesis of the book is that Hitler and Goebbels worry about the reaction of the Christian spouses led them to refuse to forcibly remove the Jewish spouse. They instead resorted to social pressure to force a divorce, so that the Jewish spouse could then easily be sent to the death camps. The social pressure was unsuccessful not because it was not intense, but because the Nazi's failed to give sufficient consideration to the bond between the spouses and the German antipathy toward divorce.
A central part of the story focuses on the attempt to round up the intermarried Jews in Berlin for transport to the camps. After the round up, but before their transport, they were housed in a building on Rosenstrasse. When word of this got back to the Christian spouses they surrounded the building and refused to leave until their husband or wife was freed. Amazingly, the Nazi's who murdered millions of Jews, Poles, Gypsies and others let thier prisoners go free. Goebbels reasoned that it was better to not force a confrontation with Christian Germans.
What is clear is that the Nazis were extremely concerned about German public opinion and were willing even to ignore their plans for the final solution where it ran counter to the public opinion of even a small part of Germany's populace. The "what if" relates to what would have happened if the greater part of Germany populace had taken the lessons of the Rosenstrasse Protest and attempted to stop the final solution. Certainly the conventional wisdom that they would have been ignored, or worse, must be rethought. In fact, the Rosenstrasse Protest was not an isolated incident, and numerous successful protests altered Nazi behavior. If more Germans, or the Vatican, had learned this simple lesson maybe millions of person would not have perished in the gas chambers of the death camps. It certainly puts to rest the excuse that there was nothing that cold have been done.
The book is very well researched and written. It is well worth reading.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Holocaust and Intermarriage 18 Dec 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
I was very impressed by this book. The author has done much needed work on a little known subject. I was moved by the interviews with survivors.It was inspiring to hear of the faithfullness of these intermaried couples and their devotion to each other. The Rosenstrasse Protest made me realize that even evil people, such as the Nazi authorities, can be forced to listen to protesters. I was able to picture what the hardships of life for these families in Berlin. It's a wonderful book and should be read by anyone interested in Holocaust Studies.
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