Good Neighbors – Bad Times Echoes of my Father's German Village

Good Neighbors – Bad Times

Mimi Schwartz is the daughter of Arthur Löwengart, a leather-trader from Rexingen who emigrated to America before the Shoah. She grew up listening to his stories of his native village. Born in 1898, he talked of his boyhood enjoyed long before Hitler came to power. As an adult, she was somewhat sceptical of his positive accounts. She spent 12 years seeking answers to her questions, only to find there were no easy answers. Her research took her to Germany, especially Rexingen (called Benheim in her book), Israel and the USA. She poured over archives, interviewed survivors, contemporary witnesses – Jewish and Christian – and present-day residents of Rexingen, meticulously sifting through the information, separating the reliable from the uncertain.

The result is a well-written, gripping narrative, at once moving and thought-provoking. In spite of the shameful lack of solidarity which prevailed, she discovered evidence of integrity and human decency shown to Jews by their Christian neighbors. It was important to her to record this evidence. Towards the end of the book, the conclusion she draws from her research is summed up, characteristically, in the form of a question:” If we knew the good stories, no matter how small, might more of us find courage to follow suit?” The reader is left pondering the enigmatic question, How would I have behaved? For those interested in Rexingen this book is invaluable, giving as it does an insight into life as it was lived in this small village before, during and after the Shoah. For the general reader it is an enlightening reflection on man’s potential for good and evil.

Editors: Mimi Schwartz
Number of pages / Bookcover: 263 pages / Paperback.
Languages: English
ISBN: 978-0-8032-2640-1
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Price: US $ 16.95
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