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The Enemy I Knew
German Jews in the Allied Military in World War II
“Few stories can rival the ones told in The Enemy I Knew.” Library Journal (Starred Review)
"This is a collection of 27 first-person combat accounts, sought out by the author, from German and Austrian Jews who served in the Allied Armed Forces in North Africa and Europe. These men (and one woman) had emigrated as children or young adults to the United States or Great Britain between 1937 and 1941. All of them jumped at the chance to fight the Nazis, and all served in combat (the woman was an ambulance driver). One man served in both the European and the Pacific theaters and returned to Germany in 1946 for occupation duty. These accounts, all newly published, are filled with terror and a simple courage, with a feeling of a duty fulfilled. Recommended."
"Imagine fleeing Nazi Germany because of one’s Jewish faith and then returning during the war as a member of the Allied forces. Author Steven Karras began interviewing Jewish refugees in 1999 who had fled Nazi persecution because of their religion and come to the United States and Great Britain, only to find themselves being inducted into the military and returning to their homeland. Following the oral-history format, Karras selected 27 individuals to interview for his book. One became a U.S. commando and actually liberated his own parents from a Nazi concentration camp. Another soldier was assigned to military intelligence and later questioned a former classmate who was serving in the German Army. Each vignette describes the individual’s early life in German or Austria and his subsequent military service."
The Jewish Tribune"Steven Karras has avoided what could have been a dry academic analysis of the motives of German Jews for fighting in Allied armies against the Nazis. Rather, he has produced a collection of twenty-seven personal interviews in which people recall their emotions more than fifty years after World War II…The tales of battle are mind-boggling, as young men risked life and limb for an ideal….the narratives are fascinating."
The Daily News"Heroic, poignant and heartbreaking, it is a compelling book. Some of the memoirs, especially those concerning escape from Germany, provide graphic pictures of the desperation that the Jewish community felt in the late 1930s, especially after Crystal Night, when the Nazis were closing and there were very few places to flee."
America in WWII
"...the unique background of these 27 veterans give The Enemy I Knew value for students of Jewish experiences before and during the war, as well as devotees of war stories."
Accent on Tampa Bay Magazine
Intermountain Jewish News
The Jewish Review (Portland, OR)
North County Times
The Jewish Magazine"This is not a dry academic analysis of the motives of German Jews to fight in Allied armies against the Nazis. Rather, this is a collection of twenty-seven personal interviews in which people recollected their emotions more than fifty years after World War II. Some of those relating events are known, such as Henry Kissenger. Most, however, are faceless Jews who stepped forward to serve their newly found country in time of need."