For the Honor of Our Fatherland: German Jews on the Eastern Front during the Great War

Author:   Tracey Hayes Norrell
Publisher:   Lexington Books
ISBN:  

9781498564892


Pages:   208
Publication Date:   11 September 2019
Format:   Paperback
Availability:   Not yet available   Availability explained
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For the Honor of Our Fatherland: German Jews on the Eastern Front during the Great War


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For the Honor of Our Fatherland: German Jews on the Eastern Front during the Great War focuses on the German Jews' role in reconstructing Poland's war-ravaged countryside. The Germany Army assigned rabbis to serve as chaplains in the German Army and to support and minister to their own Jewish soldiers, which numbered 100,000 during the First World War. However, upon the Army's arrival into the decimated region east of Warsaw, it became abundantly clear that the rabbis might also help with the poverty-stricken Ostjuden by creating relief agencies and rebuilding schools. For the Honor of Our Fatherland demonstrates that the well-being of the Polish Jewish community was a priority to the German High Command and vital to the future of German politics in the region. More importantly, by stressing the importance of the Jews in the East to Germany's success, For the Honor of Our Fatherland will show that Germany did not always want to remove the Jews-quite the contrary. The role and influence of the German Army rabbis and Jewish administrators and soldiers demonstrates that Germany intentionally supported the Polish Jewish communities in order to promote its agenda in the East, even as the modes for future influence changed. By implementing a philanthropic agenda in the East, the Germans recognized that its success might lie in part in enfranchising the Jewish population. Moreover, the directives of these relief agencies were not only beneficial to the impoverished Jewish communities, but the German Army had much to gain from this transnational relationship. The tragic irony was that Germany returned to the East in the Second World War and killed millions of Jews.

Full Product Details

Author:   Tracey Hayes Norrell
Publisher:   Lexington Books
Imprint:   Lexington Books
ISBN:  

9781498564892


ISBN 10:   1498564895
Pages:   208
Publication Date:   11 September 2019
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Professional & Vocational
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active
Availability:   Not yet available   Availability explained
This item is yet to be released. You can pre-order this item and we will dispatch it to you upon its release.

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Reviews

Tracey Norrell's book is an important addition to the literature on anti-Semitism in Germany and Russia during the Great War and effectively untangles the complex crosscurrents of Jewish politics in the crucible of the Eastern Front. I can think of no work that synthesizes these developments more effectively and informatively than Norrell's. Well written and cogently argued, it is by far the best treatment of the vexed relationship between Imperial Germany/Russia and the Jews of Eastern Europe as the world turned violent and laid the foundations for the horrors that were to come. -- Thomas Childers, University of Pennsylvania In examining the experiences of German Jews who served in the German Army in the east during the Great War, Norrell (geography, Tennessee) has tapped a hitherto unexamined set of sources, the correspondence of the Feldrabbiner (army rabbis). Such sources, along with the published works of notable German Jewish intellectuals of the period (Arnold Zweig, Martin Buber, Leo Baeck), help inform Norrell's important survey of this neglected topic. The Eastern Campaign brought many German Jewish soldiers, Feldrabbiner, and Jews who worked in the Ober Ost administration into contact with eastern European, primarily Polish, Jews. The author documents the German Jews' reactions and responses to these encounters and notes the efforts of some rabbis to go beyond serving Jewish soldiers and caring for their eastern Jewish brethren. Like other Germans who were part of the Eastern Campaign, German Jews held prejudices of superiority over eastern European Jews and gentiles. Many of their preconceptions were undermined in the process, and some German Jews wrote of a spiritual renewal. Descriptions of this encounter are a major strength of Norrell's narrative and could have been explored further in an otherwise concisely written, accessible introduction to this important topic. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All academic levels/libraries. * CHOICE * I'm not sure what stands out most for me in this fine and complex book. Norrell certainly captures the extent to which the First World War on the Eastern Front prefigured the appalling events of the Holocaust. But that isn't what captivates me-it's what seems at first sight a minor theme of the book-the extent to which German Jewry, especially under Bodenheimer, attempted to create a Jewish homeland in East Eurasia, and the extent to which that would eventually clash with the Nazi geopolitical agenda of lebensraum. This isn't a book about geopolitics per se, but it's a book that needs to be read by anyone concerned with the geopolitik of the Third Reich and its malignant impact on the Jews of Eastern Europe. -- Peter J. Hugill, Texas A&M University Tracey Norrell's book is an important addition to the literature on anti-Semitism in Germany and Russia during the Great War and effectively untangles the complex crosscurrents of Jewish politics in the crucible of the Eastern Front. I can think of no work that synthesizes these developments more effectively and informatively than Norrell's. Well written and cogently argued, it is by far the best treatment of the vexed relationship between Imperial Germany/Russia and the Jews of Eastern Europe as the world turned violent and laid the foundations for the horrors that were to come. -- Thomas Childers, University of Pennsylvania I'm not sure what stands out most for me in this fine and complex book. Norrell certainly captures the extent to which the First World War on the Eastern Front prefigured the appalling events of the Holocaust. But that isn't what captivates me-it's what seems at first sight a minor theme of the book-the extent to which German Jewry, especially under Bodenheimer, attempted to create a Jewish homeland in East Eurasia, and the extent to which that would eventually clash with the Nazi geopolitical agenda of lebensraum. This isn't a book about geopolitics per se, but it's a book that needs to be read by anyone concerned with the geopolitik of the Third Reich and its malignant impact on the Jews of Eastern Europe. -- Peter J. Hugill, Texas A&M University This fascinating study illuminates a vital but less familiar episode in modern history: the unexpected story of the complex experiences of German Jews in the context of the First World War as total war, from hope to despair. -- Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius, University of Tennessee


In examining the experiences of German Jews who served in the German Army in the east during the Great War, Norrell (geography, Tennessee) has tapped a hitherto unexamined set of sources, the correspondence of the Feldrabbiner (army rabbis). Such sources, along with the published works of notable German Jewish intellectuals of the period (Arnold Zweig, Martin Buber, Leo Baeck), help inform Norrell's important survey of this neglected topic. The Eastern Campaign brought many German Jewish soldiers, Feldrabbiner, and Jews who worked in the Ober Ost administration into contact with eastern European, primarily Polish, Jews. The author documents the German Jews' reactions and responses to these encounters and notes the efforts of some rabbis to go beyond serving Jewish soldiers and caring for their eastern Jewish brethren. Like other Germans who were part of the Eastern Campaign, German Jews held prejudices of superiority over eastern European Jews and gentiles. Many of their preconceptions were undermined in the process, and some German Jews wrote of a spiritual renewal. Descriptions of this encounter are a major strength of Norrell's narrative and could have been explored further in an otherwise concisely written, accessible introduction to this important topic. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All academic levels/libraries. * CHOICE *


Author Information

Tracey Hayes Norrell is professor of geography at the University of Tennessee.

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