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Reviews of the book 'Why the Germans, Why the Jews' by Götz Aly provide an explanation for the societal conditions in which a controversy surrounding the Friedensmal could arise, ultimately even leading to a demolition order.
Why the Germans, Why the Jews?
Review in 'Die Tageszeitung', September 2, 2011
Götz Aly's study 'Why the Germans? Why the Jews?' has left historian Ulrich Herbert with a 'somewhat ambivalent' impression. The author seems to him to explain and substantiate the development of anti-Semitism in Germany highly instructively, especially when it comes to the motives of envy and resentment of Germans towards Jews, who were perceived by their enemies as winners of modernity. However, in Herbert's view, the German longing for equality and hostility towards individualism, on both the left and the right, can only partially explain the phenomenon of radical anti-Semitism. He argues that there were also demands for the elimination of social inequalities in other European states without this being linked to anti-Semitism. Furthermore, Herbert points out the high number of poor Jews, against whom envy and resentment do not serve as anti-Semitic motives. In general, Herbert criticizes the author for his explanatory approach being too strongly materialistic and neglecting cultural motives.
Review in 'Süddeutsche Zeitung,' August 12, 2011
Gustav Seibt considers Götz Aly's new book 'Why the Germans? Why the Jews?' to be the author's 'most provocative' to date. Nevertheless, this examination of the mental-historical prerequisites of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust has convinced him. In Seibt's opinion, the historian substantiates with countless sources how not only a submissive spirit, ethnic and racist thinking, but above all anti-liberalism, social justice aspirations, envy, and the tendency towards collectivism and security in the group formed the breeding ground for anti-Semitism in Germany. The material that Aly presents—hundreds of pieces of evidence—is, in Seibt's view, 'overwhelming,' also because it becomes clear that the tradition from which anti-Semitism was nourished continues to persist."
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