German Jews and Migration to the United States, 1933–1945 is a collection of first-person accounts, many previously unpublished, that document the flight and exile of German Jews from Nazi Germany to the USA,. The authors of the letters and memoirs included in this collection share two important characteristics: They all had close ties to Munich, the Bavarian capital, and they all emigrated to the USA, though sometimes via detours and/or after stays of varying lengths in other places of refuge. Selected to represent a wide range of exile experiences, these testimonies are carefully edited, extensively annotated, and accompanied by biographical introductions to make them accessible to readers, especially those who are new to the subject. These autobiographical sources reveal the often-traumatic experiences and consequences of forced migration, displacement, resettlement, and new beginnings. In addition, this book demonstrates that migration is not only a process by which groups and individuals relocate from one place to another but also a dynamic of transmigration affected by migrant networks and the complex relationships between national policies and the agency of migrants.
Andrea A. Sinn is associate professor of history and O'Briant Developing Professor at Elon University.
Andreas Heusler is head of the contemporary history and Jewish history department at the Munich City Archives.
Table of Contents
Introduction: From Hitler’s Munich to American Exile
Andrea Sinn and Andreas Heusler
Part I: Heimat – Jewish Life in Germany and Nazi Persecution
Chapter 1: Munich, 1933–1938
Ernest B. Hofeller
Chapter 2: The Munich Years
Chapter 3: A Student’s Fate, 1933–1945
Chapter 4: The Jaws of the Swastika Tighten
Chapter 5: An Emotional Handicap
Chapter 6: A Jewish Childhood in Nazi Germany
Chapter 7: “… What One Leaves Behind”
Schwager Family Letters
Chapter 8: “I’m Alive: It’s a Miracle!”
Blechner Family Letters
Part II: Exile – Emigration and New Beginnings Abroad
Chapter 9: My New Life in the U.S.
Chapter 10: Tossed by the Wind: A Proud Journey from 1920 to 1994
Ilse E. Scholle
Chapter 11: Tossed by the Storms of History: Experiences of a Survivor
Charlotte Haas Schueller
Chapter 12: Memories
Hanns Peter Merzbacher
Chapter 13: A Family History
Chapter 14: The Lost Home
Chapter 15: The Tragedy of Emigration
Koppel Family Letters
Chapter 16: “Wanderer Between Two Worlds”
This expertly edited collection brings fresh insights to the remarkable story of German-Jewish displacement in the heart of the 20th century. Sinn and Heusler have assembled a first-rate collection of testimonies and woven them together to provide a portrait of an uprooted community. Highly recommended for classroom teachers, researchers, and anyone who wants to know more about Jewish migration to the United States.
The German Jews who had to flee from Nazi Germany left a deep imprint on American society. This important book collects exemplary voices of Jewish refugees from Munich, the capital of Hitler’s movement, as they are looking back on their lives in Germany and assessing their new situation in exile. An essential resource for anyone interested in the personal side of the greatest tragedy in the 20th century.
This important collection of memoirs and letters puts a human face on the refugee crisis created by Nazi Germany. From gut-wrenching decisions to leave children behind to the exploitation of immigrant labor in the US, these documents shine a light on the obstacles and dangers that underly the experience of uprooting oneself from home and country. The editors have written clear and insightful introductions to frame the significance of these documents. Through these documents, students will gain a fuller understanding of how Nazi persecution tore apart families and robbed Jewish Germans of their homes and of their sense of security and belonging.
This compelling book shares the stories of multiple Jewish families from Munich and their struggle to respond to persecution within Third Reich and emigration to the US. Through memoirs and family letters, this searing compilation unflinchingly evidences what emigres left behind, including physical spaces and possessions, their sense of self, and often family members. These powerful recollections lay bare the daily life they endured within Germany and their search for safe haven, constrained by antisemitism and a tangled bureaucracy of emigration. It restores humanity to these events, relating how people thought and felt during incredibly demanding and dangerous times.