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The Short, Strange Life of Herschel Grynszpan a Boy Avenger, a Nazi Diplomat, and a Murder in Paris

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The Short, Strange Life of Herschel Grynszpan a Boy Avenger, a Nazi Diplomat, and a Murder in Paris

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    Available in PDF Format | The Short, Strange Life of Herschel Grynszpan a Boy Avenger, a Nazi Diplomat, and a Murder in Paris.pdf | English
    Jonathan Kirsch(Author)
On the morning of November 7, 1938, Herschel Grynszpan, a desperate seventeen-year-old Jewish refugee, walked into the German embassy in Paris and shot Ernst vom Rath, a Nazi diplomat. Two days later vom Rath lay dead, and the Third Reich exploited the murder to unleash Kristallnacht in a bizarre concatenation of events that would rapidly involve Ribbentrop, Goebbels, and Hitler himself. But was Grynszpan a crazed lone gunman or agent provocateur of the Gestapo? Was he motivated by a desire to avenge Jewish people, or did his act of violence speak to an intimate connection between the assassin and his target, as Grynszpan later claimed? Part page-turning historical thriller and part Kafkaesque legal drama, The Short, Strange Life of Herschel Grynszpan brings to life the historical details and moral dimensions of one of the most enigmatic cases of World War II. This compelling biography presents a story with twists and turns that "no novelist could invent" (Alice Kaplan).

With page-turning virtuosity, Jonathan Kirsch uncovers a tantalizing story and makes it real and compulsively readable: What were the events that set in motion one of the true Holocaust mysteries--the assassination that gave the Nazis the excuse to begin their violent campaign toward extermination of Europe's Jews? With a storyteller's touch and a lawyer's insight, Kirsch elevates this tragic tale and makes it read like a legal and moral thriller. --Thane Rosenbaum, author of Payback: The Case for Revenge and The Myth of Moral JusticeHerschel Grynszpan wanted nothing more than to be remembered for his rash, heroic actions. In Kirsch, he has finally found an objective, yet passionate, chronicler. --Ronald C. Rosbottom, professor of French and European studies, Amherst CollegeKirsch expertly picks through the murky details to shed new light on the historical significance. A compelling study.No novelist could invent a story with as many twists of history and character as the one Jonathan Kirsch tells about Herschel Grynszpan...The Short, Strange Life of Herschel Grynszpan illuminates the countless short and tragic lives of eastern European Jews running for shelter in the terrible days leading up to World War II. --Alice Kaplan, author of The Collaborator and Dreaming in FrenchKirsch's investigation of its international history invites us to chart the troubling boundaries of responsibility for atrocity. --Timothy Snyder, author of Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and StalinWith a storyteller's touch and a lawyer's insight, Kirsch elevates this tragic tale and makes it read like a legal and moral thriller. --Thane Rosenbaum, author of Payback: The Case for Revenge and The Myth of Moral Justice[An] excellent account...Reading this excellent, thought-provoking biography, one is all too easily reminded of Camus's 1942 novel, The Stranger. --Philip KerrIn his well-crafted study... Jonathan Kirsch manages to put some meat on the skinny frame of his protagonist and also to put a human face on his victim. In so doing, Kirsch has made a valuable contribution to our understanding of Kristallnacht. --David Clay LargeOn Nov. 7, 1938, a troubled Jewish teenager walked into an embassy in Paris, got in to see a low-level Nazi attache and shot him dead a killing that gave Hitler a pretext for the savage, anti-Semitic orgy of Kristallnacht. --Scott Martelle"In his well-crafted study Jonathan Kirsch manages to put some meat on the skinny frame of his protagonist and also to put a human face on his victim. In so doing, Kirsch has made a valuable contribution to our understanding of Kristallnacht. --David Clay Large"[Herschel Grynszpan] faced what his biographer Jonathan Kirsch perceptively calls the 'existential threat of statelessness.' Kirsch has a dramatic story, and he tells it well. --Timothy Snyder"

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Book details

  • PDF | 368 pages
  • Jonathan Kirsch(Author)
  • Liveright; Reprint edition (11 Mar. 2014)
  • English
  • 8
  • Biography

Review Text

  • By Guest on 2 July 2013

    This book has some interesting insights. I have not completed the book but there is something that I found very interesting.When the law changed, and it became illegal for a Jew to own a gun: the Jew threw his pistol into the river rather hand it in. But there was another alternative - to keep it and hide it.So why did he throw the gun away rather than hide it?The explanation, given in the book, is that Jews had always experienced persecution, and rather than fight back, they had always waited it out. One or two people would lose their lives, but the community would survive.The response to persecution, was to obey the law, rather than to embark on a campaign of lawlessness.The Nazis, were a party of law and order, and they restored 'law and order' to Germany. But they did so by creating 'lawlessness'.The other thing is that 'some Nazis', such as Hitler, had a sense of 'Social Darwinism'. The Jews survived and prospered as a people - whereas the best of German youth had been squandered on the battlefield in the First World War. This was a new idea. That the task for the German people was to kill all Jews, particularly women and children.

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