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Circles of Resistance

Jewish, Leftist, and Youth Dissidence in Nazi Germany

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John M. Cox

Circles of Resistance: Jewish, Leftist, and Youth Dissidence in Nazi Germany analyzes resistance networks of young German Jews and other young dissidents during the Nazi dictatorship. Young German-Jewish radicals created an intellectually and politically vibrant subculture in Berlin, the geographical focus of this study. The youths analyzed here were reacting not only to Nazi oppression: they were also driven to develop new modes of action and politics by their estrangement not only from German society, but also from the traditional left parties and their post-1933 underground organizations, and even from large segments of Berlin’s Jewish community, where radical activism was often regarded as counter-productive and needlessly provocative. At the center of this study are the Herbert Baum groups, led by members of Germany’s Communist Party (KPD). While the Baum groups were the largest, they were but one of several resistance operations that were situated partially within the milieu created by Communists, Socialists, Trotskyists, and radical Jewish youths. Based on archival research in Germany, Paris, Amsterdam, and Jerusalem, and interviews with veterans of the anti-Nazi resistance, Circles of Resistance analyzes the overlap of these diverse social and political dimensions among dissident circles and offers a reconsideration of traditional thinking on leftist and Jewish resistance and youth subcultures of the Third Reich. Circles of Resistance will be useful for undergraduate as well as graduate courses on Jewish history, Nazi Germany, and the Holocaust, as well as courses devoted to the history of European socialism.