The World of Aufbau
Hitler's Refugees in America
“Schrag deftly incorporates the history of the Aufbau, the central and major newspaper of German-speaking Jews, with the story of its readers, refugees from Hitler’s Europe. In examining the tensions between retaining their culture and Americanizing, he paints a vibrant picture of a generation in transition.”
Aufbau—a German-language weekly, published in New York and circulated nationwide—was an essential platform for the generation of refugees from Hitler and the displaced people and concentration camp survivors who arrived in the United States after the war. The publication served to link thousands of readers looking for friends and loved ones in every part of the world. In its pages Aufbau focused on concerns that strongly impacted this community in the aftermath of World War II: anti-Semitism in the United States and in Europe, the ever-changing immigration and naturalization procedures, debates about the designation of Hitler refugees as enemy aliens, questions about punishment for the Holocaust and other Nazi crimes, the struggle for compensation and restitution, and the fight for a Jewish homeland.
The book examines the columns and advertisements that chronicled the social and cultural life of that generation and maintained a detailed account of German-speaking cultures in exile. Peter Schrag is the first to present a definitive account of the influential publication that brought postwar refugees together and into the American mainstream.
“This in-depth look at the refugees’ sometimes brilliant, sometimes painful attempts to adapt to American life while—at least during the Holocaust—keeping one eye firmly fixed on Europe is a valuable addition to American and Jewish history.”
“As Peter Schrag writes in his illuminating study on a largely forgotten piece of American immigrant history, Aufbau’s readers were diverse in background, a ‘community of fate.”
“Aufbau represented and connected the exiled unlike any other instrument of communication. It was, so to speak, the ‘Facebook’ of the time, linking with each other the refugee communities of close to one hundred countries of exile. Schrag has managed to capture the sense of urgency, depth, and importance unlike anybody before.”
—Frank Mecklenburg, Leo Baeck Institute
Of Related Interest
LC: 201845754 PN
272 pp. 6 x 9
21 b/w illus.