Fighter, Worker, and Family Man: German-Jewish Men and Their Gendered Experiences in Nazi Germany, 1933–1941
Published: December 2021© 2022
264 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.70 in, 29 b&w illustrations
When the Nazis came to power, they used various strategies to expel German Jews from social, cultural, and economic life. Fighter, Worker, and Family Man focuses on the gendered experiences and discrimination that German-Jewish men faced between 1933 and 1941.
Sebastian Huebel argues that Jewish men’s gender identities, intersecting with categories of ethnicity, race, class, and age, underwent a profound process of marginalization that destabilized accustomed ways of performing masculinity. At the same time, in their attempts to sustain their conceptions of masculinity these men maintained agency and developed coping strategies that prevented their full-scale emasculation. Huebel draws on a rich archive of diaries, letters, and autobiographies to interpret the experiences of these men, focusing on their roles as soldiers and protectors, professionals and breadwinners, and parents and husbands.
Fighter, Worker, and Family Man sheds light on how the Nazis sought to emasculate Jewish men through propaganda, the law, and violence, and how in turn German-Jewish men were able to defy emasculation and adapt – at least temporarily – to their marginalized status as men.
List of Figures
Image and Photo Credits
List of Abbreviations
1. Un-soldierly Men? German Jews and Military Masculinity
2. The Question of Race and Sex: Jewish Men and Racial Defilement
3. Jewish Masculinity and the Importance of Work
4. Jewish Husbands and Fathers in the Third Reich
5. Outside the KZ: Jewish Masculinities and the Arrival of Violence
6. Inside the KZ: Jewish Masculinities in Prewar Nazi Concentration Camps
"Huebel shares the hope that a study of the erosion of Jewish male masculinity under Nazism can ‘sharpen our understanding of contemporary issues related to gender.’"Graham Forst, Jewish Independent
"At last, a book that foregrounds the masculinity of German-Jewish men in the Nazi dictatorship. Sebastian Huebel’s most welcome study brings extraordinary nuance and sensitivity to capturing the subjective experiences of German-Jewish men – fathers, husbands, veterans, and workers – as they struggled to survive and retain their dignity in the face of persecution, defamation, and deportation."Paul Lerner, Professor, Department of History and Director, Max Kade Institute for Austrian-German-Swiss Studies, University of Southern California
"Sebastian Huebel’s important and innovative book explores the lived experiences of German-Jewish men in Nazi Germany, a subject neglected by historical research far too long. The book focuses on the gendered everyday challenges, victimizations, reactions, and negotiations of these men, whose masculinity was increasingly stifled and repressed by the Nazis in public discourse, by laws, and in practice since 1933. Anybody interested in German-Jewish history should read this book."Karen Hagemann, James G. Kenan Distinguished Professor of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
"Full-length studies that focus on the experiences of Jewish men as ‘men’ during the Nazi regime and the Holocaust can still be counted on one hand. Huebel’s critical and detailed investigation of Jewish-German masculinity in Nazi Germany is a welcome and needed addition. It is a must-read for anyone interested in the intersection of gender and the Holocaust."Björn Krondorfer, Regents’ Professor and Director of the Martin-Springer Institute, Northern Arizona University