The author, Andrew Nagorski, wrote a teaser in the The Forward this morning. In it he describes the various eye witness accounts to the rise of the Nazi party in Germany. He rejects the hindsight of the aftermath of the Holocaust and brings us Hitler through the eyes of his contemporaries. Confusion and differing opinions about the Nazi threat plague the world... and even the Jewish community. Nagorski writes:
In fact, some Americans living in Germany were more alarmed by what they were witnessing than German Jews appeared to be. In late 1932, as Hitler was close to taking power, Edgar Ansel Mowrer, the Chicago Daily News correspondent who was one of the most perceptive observers on the scene, attended a dinner at the home of a prominent Jewish banker. All the other guests were also Jewish bankers, and Mowrer was startled to hear that some of them had given money to the Nazis at the urging of non-Jewish German industrialists.
When Mowrer expressed his astonishment at his dinner companions’ “strong suicidal urge,” his host insisted that Hitler shouldn’t be taken seriously. The implication: The Nazi leader would never act on his most extreme rhetoric, and besides, the donations would keep him reasonable. To Jews who were more willing to listen, Mowrer’s advice was unequivocal: “Get out, and fast.”This is an area I have always wanted to research and am sure I will find this useful. I am teaching a class on modern Jewish history this summer and I am sure that this will provide ample source material for my single lecture on the Holocaust. I will review the book when I have read it.