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Jewish World War I Veterans under Hitler

Zionist activists held that the front experience persuaded many Jews to turn their backs on assimilation and embrace a newfound Jewish separateness.2 One searches in vain, however, in the writings of Jewish soldiers for evi- dence that wartime antisemitism led to an abandonment of prewar attitudes and beliefs. Letters and diary entries written during the final weeks of the war showed no signs that Jewish soldiers had abandoned their ideals or that their desire to see Germany emerge victorious diminished; the celebratory language of the writings of socialist


, servicewomen perceived many dimensions of their war front experience-military enlistment, exposure to danger, and uncon- ventional work and leisure activities-as a potential challenge to the re- strictive gender roles at home. Most important, American servicewomen viewed themselves as taking part in a great national venture in partnership with men. They believed that they could contribute essential services and skilled labor toward an Allied victory. Indeed, the conviction that their nation required the help of women workers was one of the strongest motivations for

later on; he wanted to be welcomed back to Germany as a hero and as a “real” man. This expectation provided the impetus for individuals to go headlong into the trenches, to risk death, wounds, and disfigurement for the fatherland. Jewish Front experiences Individual wartime experiences were contingent on a range of social and situational factors, central to which were a soldier’s expectations in Au- gust 1914 and the extent to which they were being fulfilled. This gap be- tween expectations and reality undergirded Jewish expressions of enthusi- asm, hope

himself as fully integrated into the German Bildungsbürgertum (educated middle-class society). Certain facets of Herzfeld’s experience are unquestionably unique—he was a for- mer member of the officers’ corps, an upper-middle-class factory owner, and a baptized Protestant living in a liberal, predominantly Catholic region in Germany—but his writings exhibit remarkable similarities with other Jews who had been socialized by the front experience and imbued with a German “national” self-image, only to find themselves shunned by the Nazis after 1933. Most

the mayor’s 1939 reelection campaign. Such mayoral acts of mea culpa helped the machine pass through what could have been rough waters. World War ii America’s World War II home front experience was quite different from that of World War I. The United States was slow to enter World War I and fought for less than two years. As a result, the American home front never fully mobi- lized for that war effort. Americans did not enter the Second World War until late 1941, but many American businesses had been supplying war supplies to Great Britain since early 1940

Manes, his fate exemplifies the plight of the Jewish Frontkämpfer, whose habitus was shaped by the “front experience” and a pronounced “German” self-image, yet who struggled to reconcile the loss of status and betrayal by his country. Together with other postwar autobiographical sources, Manes’s and Hadra’s writings bring to light crucial similarities regarding veterans’ behaviors, cop- ing strategies, and spiritual attitudes as they became victims of the Final Solution. By the time Manes and Hadra arrived at Theresienstadt, they had already endured nine


-Century Germany, edited by Karen Hagemann and Stefanie Schüler-Springorum, 43–67. Oxford: Berg, 2002. Garbarini, Alexandra, Emil Kerenji, Jan Lambertz, and Avinoam Patt. Jewish Re- sponses to Persecution. Vol. 2, 1938–1940. Lanham, MD: AltaMira, 2011. Geheran, Michael. “Remasculinizing the Shirker: The Jewish Frontkämpfer under Hitler.” Central European History 51, no. 3 (2018): 440–65. ——. “Rethinking Jewish Front Experiences.” In Beyond Inclusion and Exclusion: Jewish Experiences of the First World War in Central Europe, edited by Jason Crouthamel, Michael Geheran, Tim

the early Comintern years. During the 1930s many of them had either withdrawn from active politics or—as had happened to leaders like Scoccimarro and Secchia—endured arrest and imprisonment by the Fascists. The sectarianism of the old-guard cadres had thus not been tempered by the popular front experience. Nor had their reflexive loyalty to the fatherland of socialism been shaken by direct exposure to the heavy-handed methods of the Stalinists, as was the case for so many of their own leaders in exile. Instead their Bolshevik matrix remained intact, reinforced by

relationship between war and the implementation of criminal policies by the Nazi 16 On the Wehrmachrs failure to replenish its manpower and materiel, see GSWW, vol. 5, bk. 1, pts. 2-3. On the soldier's front experience, seeS. Fritz, Frontsoldaten: The German Soldier in World War II (Lexington, KY, 1995); T. Schulte, The German Army and Nazi Policies in Occupied Russia (Oxford, 1989); 0. Bartov, Hitler's Army: Soldiers, Nazis, and War in the Third Reich (New York, 1991); Bartov, The Eastern Front, 1941-1945, 2d ed. (New York, 2001). 17 Ploetz, Geschichte des Zweiten