Circles of resistance : intersections of Jewish, leftist, and youth dissidence under the Third Reich, 1933-1945 / by John M. Cox.
My dissertation 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.The resistance groups that are at the center of my research---the Herbert Baum groups---were led by members of Germany's Communist Party (KPD), but as the KPD was driven underground and its leaders into exile, the Baum groups, freed from the KPD's doctrines and guidance, developed a relatively creative and non-dogmatic style of politics. While the Baum groups were the largest, they were but one of several resistance operations that were situated partially within the milieux created by Communists, Socialists, Trotskyists, and radical Jewish youths.Groups such as those led by Baum defy easy categorization. Therefore, these small circles, and more importantly their interconnections, have largely escaped the notice of historians concentrating on one or another facet of anti-Nazi resistance or of youth subcultures. This dissertation analyzes the overlapping of these diverse social and political dimensions among dissident circles. My scholarship offers a reconsideration of some of our traditional thinking on leftist and Jewish resistance and youth subcultures of the Third Reich, in part by challenging and complicating certain conceptions about socialism in the interwar period.This dissertation concludes by analyzing post-war memory, particularly in the German Democratic Republic, where official memory could not accommodate the complicated social and political qualities of these groups. I contrast official, public memory to the complex memories of veterans of Berlin's Jewish dissident networks.
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