"The Crime of My Very Existence" investigates a rarely considered yet critical dimension of anti-Semitism that was instrumental in the conception and perpetration of the Holocaust: the association of Jews with criminality. Drawing from a rich body of documentary evidence, including memoirs and little-studied photographs, Michael Berkowitz traces the myths and realities pertinent to the discourse on "Jewish criminality" from the eighteenth century through the Weimar Republic, into the complex Nazi assault on the Jews, and extending into postwar Europe.
Michael Berkowitz is Professor of Modern Jewish History in the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies at University College London. He is author of The Jewish Self-Image, Western Jewry and the Zionist Project, and Zionist Culture and West European Jewry before the First World War, and has co-edited, most recently, Fighting Back? Jewish and Black Boxers in Britain.
List of Illustrations Preface Acknowledgments 1. Above Suspicion? Facts, Myths, and Lies about Jews and Crime 2. The Construction of "Jewish Criminality" in Nazi Germany 3. The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy of the Ghettos 4. Inverting the Innocent and the Criminal in Concentration Camps 5. Re-presenting Zionism as the Apex of Global Conspiracy 6. Lingering Stereotypes and Jewish Displaced Persons 7. Jewish DPs Confronting the Law: Prescriptions, Self-Perceptions, and Pride of Self-Control Epilogue: The Estonia Enigma Notes Index