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Suicide in Nazi Germany$
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Christian Goeschel

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199532568

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199532568.001.0001

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Suicides of German Jews, 1933–1945

Suicides of German Jews, 1933–1945

Chapter:
(p.96) 3 Suicides of German Jews, 1933–1945
Source:
Suicide in Nazi Germany
Author(s):

Christian Goeschel

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199532568.003.0004

In the Third Reich, suicide became a routine phenomenon among German Jews. This chapter concentrates on Nazi Germany, but also goes beyond the confines of the Third Reich: to exile, to Auschwitz, and to later times. It focuses on German-Jewish suicides during the Third Reich and analyses the links between Nazi racial policy and German-Jewish suicides. There is a rich literature on the suicides of prominent Holocaust survivors, such as Paul Celan, Primo Levi, and Bruno Bettelheim, who killed themselves decades after the final solution. This chapter primarily concerns the social and political context of German-Jewish suicides and their individual motives, using hitherto neglected archival sources, including suicide notes of German Jews. It also asks how far, if at all, Jewish suicide was a form of resistance towards Nazism, or how far, on the other hand, it was an act of despair and hopelessness.

Keywords:   German Jews, Nazi Germany, Holocaust survivors, suicide notes, exile, racial policy, resistance, Nazism

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