An American in Hitler's Berlin: Abraham Plotkin's Diary, 1932-33

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University of Illinois Press, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 206 pages

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.

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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An American in Hitler's Berlin: Abraham Plotkin's diary, 1932-33

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Verdict: American labor activist Plotkin's diary captures the mood of nascent Nazi Germany and is recommended for academic libraries with extensive labor collections. Background: Labor experts Collomp ... Read full review


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About the author (2009)

Catherine Collomp is a professor of American history at Université Paris VII-Denis Diderot and the author of several books and many articles on American labor and immigration history. Bruno Groppo, a specialist of comparative labor history, is a researcher at the Centre National de la Scientifique (Paris).

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