Class of ’31: A German-Jewish Émigré’s Journey across Defeated Germany

Class of ’31: A German-Jewish Émigré’s Journey across Defeated Germany

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Walter Jessel
Edited with an Introduction by Brian E. Crim
Foreword by Michael J. Neufeld

Series: The Holocaust: History and Literature, Ethics and Philosophy
ISBN:  9781618116529 (hardcover) / 9781618116505 (paper)
Pages: approx. 250 pp. 
Publication Date: October 2017

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Class of ’31 is a beautifully written memoir from Walter Jessel, a German Jew determined to answer the question that haunted him since emigrating to the United States in 1938: “Would the people of other nations, if they were placed in the same position as the German during the Hitler regime, behave in the same manner?” Born in 1913 in Frankfurt, Jessel led an extraordinary twentieth-century life on three continents. In 1945, Jessel returned to Germany as an American soldier and sought out his former classmates, hoping to understand how they survived, or thrived, in Nazi Germany. Incredibly personal and honest, Class of ‘31 is a valuable primary source for anyone interested in the history of German Jews.


Brian E. Crim is the John M. Turner Distinguished Chair in the Humanities and Associate Professor History at Lynchburg College in Lynchburg, Virginia. He is author of Antisemitism in the German Military Community and the Jewish Response, 1914-1938 (2014) and Our Germans: Project Paperclip and the National Security State (2018).


Table of Contents

Foreword - Michael J. Neufeld
Introduction – Brian E. Crim
Class of '31 – Walter Jessel
Walter Jessel – A Chronology