Hitler’s Jewish Refugees


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Hope and Anxiety in Portugal

Marion Kaplan

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Price: $45.00
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An award-winning historian presents an emotional history of Jewish refugees biding their time in Portugal as they attempt to escape Nazi Europe

This riveting book describes the dramatic experiences of Jewish refugees as they fled Hitler’s regime and then lived in limbo in Portugal until they could reach safer havens abroad. Drawing attention not only to the social and physical upheavals these refugees experienced, Marion Kaplan also highlights their feelings as they fled their homes and histories, while having to beg strangers for kindness. Portugal’s dictator, António de Oliveira Salazar, admitted the largest number of Jews fleeing westward—tens of thousands of them—but then set his secret police on those who did not move along quickly enough. Yet Portugal’s people left a lasting impression on refugees for their caring and generosity.
Most refugees in Portugal showed strength and stamina as they faced unimagined challenges. An emotional history of fleeing, this book probes how specific locations touched refugees’ inner lives, including the borders they nervously crossed or the overcrowded transatlantic ships that signaled their liberation.

Marion Kaplan is Skirball Professor of Modern Jewish History at New York University. She is the author of Between Dignity and Despair: Jewish Life in Nazi Germany and a three-time winner of the National Jewish Book Award.

“Historians are often asked regarding German and Austrian Jews, ‘why didn’t they leave?’ In her iconic work, Between Dignity and Despair, Marion Kaplan answered that question. Everyone desperately tried to leave. Over half did. But then the war caught up with them. Now, in Hitler’s Jewish Refugees, Kaplan tells the next step in the saga of many of those who fled. It is a compelling and, sadly so, highly relevant work.”—Deborah E. Lipstadt, Emory University, author of Antisemitism Here and Now

“A superb social historian, Kaplan depicts the refugees’ exterior as well as interior daily lives. This book adds the much-needed dimension of emotions to the history of Jewish refugees during the Nazi era, and it opens fresh lines of investigation. Without doubt: this is a significant contribution to the fields of refugee studies, Holocaust history, the history of emotions, and European history.”—Debórah Dwork, author of Flight from the Reich

“Marion Kaplan is superb at transforming the objects of Nazi persecution into historical subjects. With a sympathetic but unromantic eye, she brings the experience and fate of Jewish refugees in Portugal into the spotlight, and renders them unforgettably as thinking and feeling agents in a world turned upside down.”—Mark Roseman, author of Lives Reclaimed

“This masterful work puts private life at the center of historical analysis, showing how feelings- panic, fear, hope, joy, frustration, boredom, and yearning- fundamentally shaped refugee experiences. Combining the historian’s analytic acumen with the novelist’s attention to emotion, Marion Kaplan skillfully recasts how historians talk about Jews’ responses to Nazi persecution.”—Lisa Leff, American University and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

“At a time when refugees gather on our borders, Hitler’s Jewish Refugees reminds us of another era and other refugees whose survival depended on the generosity of strangers and their governments.  Marion Kaplan vividly captures heartbreak and anxiety along with rare moments of euphoria among Jews fleeing German-occupied Europe.”—Claudia Koonz, Duke University

 “An excellent, well-written and consciously augmented work. The author’s approach, centered on individual’s perspective and refugees’ agency, sets the bar high for future historical research on human migrations.”—Dorota Choinska, H-Soz-Kult

“This historical account transforms the refugee state in a condition that has been, and is today, daily present, capable of affecting each and every one of us.”—Manuela Consonni, The Tel Aviv Review of Books

“[Kaplan] shines a bright light on what was far from the worst corner of the Holocaust world and a place that is, for that very reason, more accessible to us. It is certainly haunting enough. . . . Kaplan wants us to understand what it felt like to be a Jewish refugee.”—Allan Arkush, Jewish Review of Books

“With her pioneering, groundbreaking book, [Kaplan] has proven that historians can do more than just describe what happened; they can enter into the souls of the migrants and refugees and tell their stories in the proper historical context.”—Gur Alroey, Yad Vashem Studies
ISBN: 9780300244250
Publication Date: January 7, 2020
376 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
11 b/w illus.