My German Question: Growing Up in Nazi Berlin

My German Question Growing Up in Nazi Berlin In this poignant book a renowned historian tells of his youth as an assimilated anti religious Jew in Nazi Germany from to the story says Peter Gay of a poisoning and how I dealt with it

  • Title: My German Question: Growing Up in Nazi Berlin
  • Author: Peter Gay
  • ISBN: 9780300080704
  • Page: 418
  • Format: Paperback
  • 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 With his customary eloquence and analytic acumen, Gay describes his family, the life they led, and the reasons they did not emigrate sooner, and he explores his own ambIn 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 With his customary eloquence and analytic acumen, 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.Gay relates that the early years of the Nazi regime were relatively benign for his family as a schoolboy at the Goethe Gymnasium he experienced no ridicule or attacks, his father s business prospered, and most of the family s non Jewish friends remained supportive He devised survival strategies stamp collecting, watching soccer, and the like that served as screens to block out the increasingly oppressive world around him 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 this difficult 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.

    One thought on “My German Question: Growing Up in Nazi Berlin”

    1. This book is rather different from what I expected - what takes centre stage, or at least so it felt, is Gay's practicing self-analysis, with Nazi Germany in the background. For me it felt quite often as if I was arriving in the middle of a conversation that he has been having with somebody else, and I could not quite get who or what he was getting back at.Peter Frölich (who will later change his family name to Gay) was born in Berlin, and only just managed to escape with his family before it w [...]

    2. Absolutely fantastic book. I bought this two years ago and I'm wondering how I possibly managed to keep it on my shelf, unread, in the meantime. This would be a fantastic memoir even without the issues that he addresses. Against the backdrop of the holocaust and Gay's struggle to understand and accept his feelings about Germans and his own identity, it is gripping. Moreover, his command of English is better than virtually any native speaker. His writing is a credit to the language and a joy to r [...]

    3. This story was written from a different perspective than most memoirs are written. Peter Gay dwells on the emotional and psychological aftermath of his childhood in Berlin. He is very clinical, and gives many facts to support his opinions.

    4. I'm using this for my 20th C. Europe class. It is an interesting read to build on foreknowledge about Nazi Germany. But not a good read for someone without any background on the subject.

    5. I liked this memoir and I didn't like it. Gay's writing is annoying - too much psychoanalytic voodoo - although, having read a couple dozen holocaust memoirs, I understand why, decades later, he hates the Germans and is unable to be cool, calm, and collected about what he experienced in boyhood. Also, I had zero interest in his life after escaping from Germany just in the nick of time, and so the second half of this slender book was a bore. But his memories of the good life in Berlin, pleasures [...]

    6. The eminent historian of Freud and the Enlightenment tells, in this slim memoir, of his childhood years in the nascent Third Reich. It is interesting for a few reasons which may not be Gay’s own intent. First, he and his family were relatively untouched by the Nazi regime. Yes, they were humiliated, expelled from schools, forced to resign from jobs, witnessed many crimes against Jews. But individually, they didn’t suffer much, not even daily taunts or abuse at school. This is due in large pa [...]

    7. I'd read Professor Gay's book, Weimar Culture, when I was in college in the 1970s. I remember it as being rich and insightful with a good deal of insight into the cultural flowering that took place then. So, I was excited to find and be able to read his mini-autobiography on his life growing up as a boy in Berlin and his subsequent emigration with his family to Cuba and then to the United States. The question often comes up in people's minds (with the infallible benefit of hindsight) as to why J [...]

    8. At first very slow reading, but likely my fault as I've been reading light page turners of late. This being a memoir and a difficult one it took me a while to get into the style and rhythm. The author has mastered the English language and if you don't have a far better vocabulary than I do, well then you will need to tote your dictionary along with the book as every page had a new word to me.The underlying subject being Berlin under the Nazis' is startling and frighteningly see through the eyes [...]

    9. Out of this entire book, I felt maybe 3 of the chapters actually talked about the book subject matter. The rest was psychoanalysis and post war issues like getting his dissertation published. The 3 chapters were good enough though that I felt ok about rating this 3 stars, next time my professor should assign another book.

    10. This is a memoir of noted historian Peter Gay who lived under Hitler as a designated Jew. He wrestles with his ambivalent feelings toward Germany. It's a very angry book and could be difficult to read for some. He is also a big fan of Freud and psychoanalyzes himself, which I very much disliked. I would give this one 3.5.

    11. Involving, personal memoir of growing up in Nazi Berlin as a non-practicing Jew. He shares his emotions and how he coped. His family barely made it out in 1939 just before the war. Worthwhile.

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