Lives of Hitler’s Jew­ish Sol­diers: Untold Tales of Men of Jew­ish Descent Who Fought for the Third Reich

  • Review
By – January 9, 2012

For at least one Jew in Nazi Ger­many, the way to avoid per­se­cu­tion was to join the army under an assumed Aryan iden­ti­ty. Oth­ers in the army who con­sid­ered them­selves Chris­t­ian had their mil­i­tary careers ruined or com­pro­mised by the dis­as­trous rev­e­la­tion of their part-Jew­ish descent. 

In this intrigu­ing work, the author, a mil­i­tary his­to­ri­an and for­mer Marine offi­cer, has col­lect­ed the oral his­to­ries of Jews and part- Jews who served in the Ger­man armed forces dur­ing World War II. He presents his heroes” in a can­did and unbi­ased fash­ion. Did they have any qualms about fight­ing in sup­port of Hitler while their rel­a­tives were in con­cen­tra­tion camps or were oth­er­wise threat­ened? No, they rea­soned, how else could they have saved them­selves? Sev­er­al did, in fact, use their priv­i­leged posi­tion to help Jews in trouble.

Skill­ful­ly writ­ten and care­ful­ly researched, the book is absorb­ing read­ing. Its con­tro­ver­sial qual­i­ty sug­gests using it as a basis for dis­cus­sion groups inter­est­ed in moral prob­lems. Bib­li­og­ra­phy, list of abbre­vi­a­tions, list of SS and Wehrma­cht ranks, notes, pro­logue, six­ty­four photographs.

Jane Waller­stein worked in pub­lic rela­tions for many years. She is the author of Voic­es from the Pater­son Silk Mills and co-author of a nation­al crim­i­nal jus­tice study of parole for Rut­gers University.

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