by Abraham Plotkin
edited by Catherine Collomp and Bruno Groppo
introduction by Catherine Collomp and Bruno Groppo
University of Illinois Press, 2007
Cloth: 978-0-252-03361-2 | Paper: 978-0-252-07559-9 | eISBN: 978-0-252-05549-2
Library of Congress Classification DD857.P53A3 2009
Dewey Decimal Classification 943.155086092

This is the first published edition of the diary of Abraham Plotkin, an American labor leader of immigrant Jewish origin who lived in Berlin between November 1932 and May 1933. A firsthand account of the Weimar Republic's final months and the early rise of Nazi power in Germany, Plotkin's diary focuses on the German working class, the labor movement, and the plight of German Jews. Plotkin investigated Berlin's social conditions with the help of German Social-Democratic leaders whose analyses of the situation he records alongside his own.

Compared to the writings of other American observers of the Third Reich, Plotkin's diary is unique in style, scope, themes, and time span. Most accounts of Hitler's rise to power emphasize political institutions by focusing on the Nazi party's clashes with other political forces. In contrast, Plotkin is especially attentive to socioeconomic factors, providing an alternative view from the left that stems from his access to key German labor and socialist leaders. Chronologically, the diary reports on the moment when Hitler's seizure of power was not yet inevitable and when leaders on the left still believed in a different outcome of the crisis, but it also includes Plotkin's account of the complete destruction of German labor in May 1933.

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