Book Review: Lives of Hitler's Jewish Soldiers: Untold Tales of Men of Jewish Descent Who Fought for the Third Reich


by Bryan Mark Rigg

Lawrence, Ks: University Press of Kansas, 2009. Pp. xiv, 314. Illus., tables, notes, biblio., index. $34.95. ISBN:0700616381

Lives of Hitler's Jewish Soldiers is, in effect, a second volume to the author of Hitler's Jewish Soldiers (Lawrence: 2002), providing a more detailed look at the ways in which men of Jewish descent served.  The volume consists of a series of mini-biographies of a number of men of Jewish descent who served in the German armed forces during the Second World War. 

The men are divided into several categories, "full" Jews and men of "mixed-race" who survived by concealing their identities, "half-Jews" who served, sometimes openly, having been drafted into the armed forces or labor service, mixed-race men who were formally "aryanized," with a look at the process of "aryanization," and the role of men of mixed-race in helping other Jews survive the Holocaust. 

There are some amazing stories here, and some notable surprises, for Rigg identifies as Jews, at least under Nazi law, several prominent political and military figures, among the Fritz Bayerlein, the noted panzer leader. The stories of these men vary greatly, some trying desperately to be recognized as "real" Germans, orthers merely trying to survive.

A valuable addition to the literature on the Hitlerite regime and the Holocaust

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   

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