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Marion A. Kaplan is the author of the book Between Dignity and Despair. The book views of lives of Jewish people in Germany after Hitler’s come to power. The book focuses on the voices of Jewish women in the Nazi Germany. The author unveils the plight of restrictions and humiliations inflicted on Jewish community. It explores how the events altered their everyday life drastically. The book is unique in several ways especially the representation of the effects of the ancient times and their effects to the Jews and their diverse community. It is also unique in how it sequences the tribulations of women and how they dealt with challenges.

Content discussion

Kaplan engages her audience by describing the individual phases of the Jewish under the national socialist government. She allows the witnesses in the events described to speak for themselves especially women. The first section reveals the reduction of the Jews in Germany to a second-class category of citizens to being lepers. However, the Jews can organize a number of remarkably diverse Jewish self-help initiatives. The Jews passed through numerous challenges socially, economically and emotionally.

Other races boycotted their goods and businesses; their wealth was confiscated, and the passing of the Nuremberg laws are among the challenges they faced. The second chapter of the book examines the impact created by these changes to private lives especially those of Jewish women. It examines the transformation of their roles in the family through socialist state. Kaplan stipulates that women became swift in adapting to the new roles within their families and the communities as a method of fighting the deteriorating conditions. The Jews were forced to close ranks in friendship and community organizations. On the next chapter, Kaplan involves the audience by addressing the problems that were only treated peripherally.

Kaplan focused on the impacts created by the Nazi oppression policies to the Jews. For instance, the socio-political climate of the period profoundly influenced the Jewish decisions on engagement, marriage, and family building. Per se, the main focus of the author is discussing the plight of the Jews during the reign of Nazi rule. She engages her audiences to see the real events that surrounded the daily lives of Jewish children and youth. The difficulty of discrimination forms a common theme as most of the events discuss the challenges the Jews passed through as a result of segregation from the rest of the people.


The outbreak of the world war two heightened Jews tribulations. Jews endured persecutions and trials in the month leading up to the war. Their properties were confiscated; people were sent to labor and concentration camps, and even immigration became prohibited. She discusses the challenges faced by those who defied the laws and went into hiding. Between Dignity and Despair offers a lens allowing the readers to understand the tribulations of the Jews under the Nazi regime.