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How the Jews Defeated HitlerHow the Jews Defeated Hitler

Exploding the Myth of Jewish Passivity in the Face of Nazism

Benjamin Ginsberg

Narrated by Marcus Freeman

Available from Audible

Book published by Rowman & Littlefield

One of the most common assumptions about World War II is that the Jews did not actively or effectively resist their own extermination at the hands of the Nazis. In this powerful book, Benjamin Ginsberg convincingly argues that the Jews not only resisted the Germans but actually played a major role in the defeat of Nazi Germany. The question, he contends, is not whether the Jews fought but where and by what means. True, many Jews were poorly armed, outnumbered, and without resources, but Ginsberg shows persuasively that this myth of passivity is solely that—a myth.

The author describes how Jews resisted Nazism strongly in four major venues. First, they served as members of the Soviet military and as engineers who designed and built many pivotal Soviet weapons, including the T-34 tank. Second, a number were soldiers in the U.S. armed forces, and many also played key roles in discrediting American isolationism, in providing the Roosevelt administration with the support it needed for preparing for war, and in building the atomic bomb. Third, they made vital contributions to the Allies—the Soviet Union, the United States, and Britain—in espionage and intelligence (especially cryptanalysis), and fourth, they assumed important roles in several European anti-Nazi resistance movements that often disrupted Germany’s fragile military supply lines. In this compelling, cogent history, we discover that the Jews were an important factor in Hitler’s defeat.

Benjamin Ginsberg is David Bernstein Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Center for Advanced Governmental Studies at Johns Hopkins University. His many books include The Fall of the Faculty, Presidential Power: Unchecked and Unbalanced, and Downsizing Democracy: How America Sidelined Its Citizens and Privatized Its Public.


“Benjamin Ginsberg’s pathbreaking study demolishes the widely held view that Jews failed to resist during the Holocaust. He conclusively demonstrates the immense Jewish contribution, on many fronts, to the defeat of Nazi Germany. Ginsberg uncovers many forms of Jewish anti-Nazi resistance largely overlooked by other scholars. His book analyzes and details European and American Jews’ prominent role in conventional and partisan military efforts, in scientific and engineering breakthroughs critical to the Allied war effort, in undermining Nazi propaganda, and in counteracting isolationism in the West. This work will transform how scholars and the public view Jews and the Holocaust.”

—Stephen H. Norwood, University of Oklahoma; author of The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower and Antisemitism and the American Far Left

“An exceptionally well-written and cogently argued study showing how Jews resisted Nazism vigorously and effectively. Ginsberg has done a prodigious amount of work in military, political, economic, scientific, intelligence, and cultural sources. The result is a synthesis that makes for fascinating reading, showing how and why Jewish resistance and opposition to the Nazis manifested itself in a number of settings both inside and outside German-occupied territory. A beautifully researched and written analysis of, and an original contribution to, an important subject.”

—Donald M. McKale, Clemson University; author of Hitler's Shadow War and Nazis after Hitler

“The apparent lack of Jewish resistance to the Holocaust has long been troubling. Johns Hopkins political science professor Benjamin Ginsberg proposes a new way of understanding what actually happened: Jews did resist, not so much in the impossible environs of Nazi-occupied Europe but from elsewhere. Jews took leading roles in Britain’s codebreaking program and America’s nuclear project, eagerly served in the U.S. and Soviet military and designed some of Russia’s best weapons, including the T-34 tank. Ginsberg leaps to some invalid assumptions—the atom bomb almost certainly would not have been dropped on Germany had the Nazis held out a few months longer—but his thesis brings fresh eyes to an old subject.”

Express Milwaukee

“Benjamin Ginsberg’s intriguing new book, How the Jews Defeated Hitler, offers a provocative new answer to an old question. In seeking to explain why the Jews failed to resist the Nazis during World War II, he declares that they not only resisted, but also helped bring about the Nazis’ defeat.... Readers will be especially impressed to learn about little-known Jewish contributions to the Soviet cause, including their role in inventing the T-34 tank, the La-5 aircraft, and the Katyusha rocket.... Readers... are sure to be stimulated by his engaging and provocative book.”


“Benjamin Ginsberg makes a compelling case for Jewish resistance and gives the lie to those who question otherwise. ”

Hadassah Magazine

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