The History of an Obsession: German Judeophobia and the Holocaust (History and Politics)

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9780094790308: The History of an Obsession: German Judeophobia and the Holocaust (History and Politics)

Klaus Fischer charts the tortured history of German-Jewish relations over a millennium, from migration and ghettoization in the Middle Ages to enlightenment and emancipation in the eighteenth century to varieties of anti-Jewish prejudices in the Second Reich to the rise of pathological Judeophobia in the years 1918 to 1933. The aim of the book is to provide a historical explanation for this change in consciousness that began with a religious prejudice, moved to social and political discrimination, and ended up in annihilatory rage.

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About the Author:

Klaus Fischer is a cultural historian of Modern Europe with expertise in Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. Born in Germany in 1942, he arrived in the United States in 1959 as a 17-year-old emigrant. He attended Arizona State University and then the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he received his PhD in 1972. He is the author of Nazi Germany: A New History and The History of an Obsession: German Judeophobia and the Holocaust.

Review:

"In his follow-up to Nazi Germany: A New History, Fischer traces the long history of Judeophobia in German culture from the Middle Ages to the present, including its Christian, xenophobic, social, and biological-racial strains. . . . Fischer writes with a clear mastery of both primary and secondary sources, synthesizing a wide spectrum of literature into a fine, scholarly work. Highly recommended."-Library Journal

"Fischer is fair, balanced and well informed, having read widely and proving able to synthesize a broad array of secondary sources. . . . [A] stimulating and intelligent book."-Jewish Studies

"Truly a significant work, for Fischer gives a balanced account of a complex subject, making it painfully clear just how Germany became capable of genocide."-Booklist

"A detailed, well-written, sober and analytical study that deserves the widest possible circulation. . . . Although the rise of Nazism has been told many times, Fischer makes a clearly reasoned, well-researched attempt to put a horrible crime and a horrible epoch into an appropriately complex historical context. . . . [A]n indispensable guide."-Publishers Weekly

"Unlike other studies of the Holocaust, Fischer uses an interdisciplinary approach, skillfully applying concepts an principles derived from psychology, sociology, literature and philosophy. The result is a well balanced, carefully researched, in-depth ana

Fischer defines judeophobia as an irrational fear of, prejudice against, and hatred toward Jews. He sets out to answer two apparently inexplicable questions: How could such evil have erupted in the midst of what many regarded as a progressive Western culture, and why did the Germans stoop to a level of bestiality no sane person could have predicted in 1900? Fischer discusses the relationship between Germans and Jews from 1700 to 1939, highlighting what he calls the rise of pathological judeophobia from 1918 to 1933 and the period from 1933 to 1939. He follows with an analysis of what he poignantly terms the harvest of judeophobia, the Holocaust. He submits that Hitler may have been the devil incarnate, but the German people gave him unconditional support to the very end. "All too many Germans lent a willing hand to mass murder." This is truly a significant work, for Fischer gives a balanced account of a complex subject, making it painfully clear just how Germany became capable of genocide. (Booklist)

A strikingand potentially explosivecombination of history and psychology. Perhaps no subject lends itself more to the temptation of psychologizing than Hitler and the Holocaust. For the past 50 years, the ``Final Solution'' and its creator have been subjected to every school of psychoanalysis by experts and charlatans alike. This is dangerous terrain. Critics of psychohistory point out the obviousthat the analysand is no longer around to analyze. Defenderssuch as historian Peter Gayinsist that the field can yield new insights if properly controlled. This new contribution to the literature is by the author of the highly praised Nazi Germany: A New History (not reviewed). Fischer attempts to psychoanalyze an entire culture over the last 900 years of its history. He traces the roots of German Judeophobia back as early as the First Crusade in 1096, with the pendulum swinging between periods of relative toleration and bestial brutality. Fischer points out that the Nazis did not invent the notion of the Jew as spiritually perverse (credit goes to St. Paul and the early Church), nor the idea of biological racism (the first grand inquisitor, Torquemada, already was speaking of mala sangre in the 15th century). Throughout, Fischer uses the more clinical word ``Judeophobia'' and the descriptive ``Jew-hatred'' rather than the more common anti-Semitism, thus ``shifting the onus of responsibility to where it really belongs . . . removing doubts as to its destructive potential.'' Equally central to his argument is that the ideological motivation for the Holocaust can be found in ``human delusion'' and the demons it inspires, such as ``fear, paranoia, projection, scapegoating, and aggression.'' As to the question of how many Germans shared the Nazis murderous impulses, Fischer concludes that this cannot be conclusively answered, but in describing the Holocaust as the ``harvest of Judeophobic hatred,'' he is clearly drawing the many strands of German anti-Semitism together in a final conflagration. An important contributon, sure to fan the flames of controversy. (Kirkus Reviews)

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KLAUS FISCHER
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KLAUS FISCHER
Published by CONSTABLE (1998)
ISBN 10: 0094790302 ISBN 13: 9780094790308
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Irish Booksellers
(Rumford, ME, U.S.A.)
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Book Description CONSTABLE, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 94790302

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