In the early 1920s amidst the upheaval of Weimar Germany, a small group of peaceable idealists began to meet, practicing a quiet, communal life focused on self-improvement. But “the Bund,” as they called their group, had lofty aspirations―under the direction of their leader Artur Jacobs, its members hoped to forge an ideal community that would serve as a model for society at large. But with the ascent of the Nazis, the Bund was forced to reevaluate its mission, focusing instead on offering assistance to the persecuted, despite the great risk.
As the number of Holocaust survivors continues to dwindle, capturing the stories of those who remain among us has become even more urgent ... As Roseman notes, Bund members could aid only a few imperiled Jews, and the compromises they were forced to make raise compelling moral issues not easily resolved. A bibliography documents not only printed works, but also personal conversations and radio interviews.
With meticulous research into personal papers and other primary material, Roseman provides a singular footnote to the story of life in Hitler’s Germany ... A welcome addition to the literature of the Holocaust and Nazi Germany.
Closely analyzing diaries, coded correspondence, postwar speeches made by Bund leaders, and interviews, Roseman paints a picture of a group trapped by circumstances who were unable to do much but watch as their Jewish neighbors boarded transports to Auschwitz. As such, he may not convince readers that the Bund were great rescuers, rather than typical German citizens who had to look away to save themselves. The analytical bent of the text may make it too slow for some readers, but those seeking illumination of a little-discussed facet of Nazi-era German life will find it worthy.