Those Who Forget: My Family's Story in Nazi Europe – A Memoir, A History, A Warning

Those Who Forget: My Family's Story in Nazi Europe – A Memoir, A History, A Warning

Those Who Forget, published to international awards and acclaim, is journalist Géraldine Schwarz’s riveting account of her German and French grandparents’ lives during World War II, an in-depth history of Europe’s post-war reckoning with fascism, and an urgent appeal to remember as a defense against today’s rise of far-right nationalism.

During World War II, Géraldine Schwarz’s German grandparents were neither heroes nor villains; they were merely Mitlaüfer—those who followed the current. Once the war ended, they wanted to bury the past under the wreckage of the Third Reich.

Decades later, while delving through filing cabinets in the basement of their apartment building in Mannheim, Schwarz discovers that in 1938, her paternal grandfather Karl took advantage of Nazi policies to buy a business from a Jewish family for a low price. She finds letters from the only survivor of this family (all the others perished in Auschwitz), demanding reparations. But Karl Schwarz refused to acknowledge his responsibility. Géraldine starts to question the past: How guilty were her grandparents? What makes us complicit? On her mother’s side, she investigates the role of her French grandfather, a policeman in Vichy.

Weaving together the threads of three generations of her family story with Europe’s process of post-war reckoning, Schwarz explores how millions were seduced by ideology, overcome by a fog of denial after the war, and, in Germany at least, eventually managed to transform collective guilt into democratic responsibility. She asks: How can nations learn from history? And she observes that countries that avoid confronting the past are especially vulnerable to extremism. Searing and unforgettable, Those Who Forget is a riveting memoir, an illuminating history, and an urgent call for remembering.

Title:Those Who Forget: My Family's Story in Nazi Europe – A Memoir, A History, A Warning
ISBN:9781501199080
Format Type:

    Those Who Forget: My Family's Story in Nazi Europe – A Memoir, A History, A Warning Reviews

  • Rennie

    I didn’t love this like I thought I would and I feel guilty about it because it seems like one of those books you really should appreciate and that has great historical and cultural significance. Bu...

  • Jill Mackin

    A powerful memoir, but also an in-depth look at Germany before, during, and after the war and the dangers of false collective memory. An informative history lesson that covers the World War II years a...

  • Lauren

    "I wasn't particularly destined to take an interest in Nazis. My father's parents were neither on the victims' nor the executioners' side. They didn't distinguish themselves with acts of bravery, b...

  • Eduardrosa

    Well written book about part of the European, not just Germany, history which opens our eyes to a lot of unknown events. Very well documented.80 years later we are still struggling on some of the same...

  • Bertrand  Lescher-Nuland

    Everyone should read this book!...

  • Jade

    In French there is a word for people who lose their memory, or forget things: “les amnésiques”. The word comes from the Latin word “amnesia”, also used in English, which means a complete or p...

  • Drew

    A powerful read with many examples of how many people knew what was going on but still turned a blind eye. Some were scared, others profited, and some rejoiced and then prayed they'd never be found ou...

  • Sarah

    Extraordinary work of journalism. Winner of the European Book Prize and other awards in Germany and the authors native France. Schwarz uses the personal history of her parents and grandparents to expo...

  • Sheri

    A mind-blowing history of the "mitlaufer," those Germans (and French, Austrian, Polish, etc., etc.) people who "went along" with the horrific policies and actions of the Nazi government. Schwarz is a ...

  • Dominique

    4.5 stars, rounded up to 5.A very, very well written piece of nonfiction that I highly suggest for anyone interested in WWII & especially post-war history of Europe. I learned a LOT from this book. Tr...