The Last Jews in Berlin: An unhappy but essential read

tumblr_inline_nhben4b4yu1qczzk3

The Last Jews in Berlin by Leonard Gross is not a happy read, but it is an essential read. Reissued by Open Road Integrated Media, the book is based on the stories of seven Jews who survived World War II by living underground in Berlin. Such Jews were known as “U-Boats.” The book is based on interviews of the survivors conducted in 1967 and 1978.

Gross points out that in Germany, the resistance was largely passive, wherein Germans sheltered, fed and smuggled Jews.   The righteous gentiles in this book are “average” (as opposed to socially prominent) folks of great courage and humanity.

The Jews interviewed in the book—-also “average” folks—-have enormous faith in their deliverance, and great strength to endure horrible living conditions and ultimate tragedy. They are the beneficiaries of miraculous luck.

While most of the righteous gentiles in the book acted on their own, the Swedish congregation in Berlin had an informal network, which hid Jews in the church building and arranged for their escape to Sweden under false identities and forged documents.

The Last Jews in Berlin is a valuable resource for persons interested in daily life in the Third Reich. The book is a tribute to the heroism of the survivors and their protectors.