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From Empire to Republic

 | 
Peter Berger
, 
Günter Bischof
, 
Fritz Plasser

Books reviews

Brigitte Hamann, Hitlers Edeljude: Das Leben des Armenarztes Eduard Bloch

Munich: Piper, 2008

Evan B. Bukey

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In this extraordinary book, Brigitte Hamann recounts the life and times of Hitler’s Jewish childhood physician, Dr. Eduard Bloch (1872-1945). Relying on meticulous research in Austria, Germany, and the United States, the author provides insights into the ambiguous feelings of admiration and respect that characterized the relationship of the Jewish doctor and the Nazi dictator throughout their lives. Hamann not only sweeps away misconceptions about Hitler’s youth, but in lucid, often gripping, prose provides a heartrending account of the disastrous, long-term impact of the collapse of the Habsburg Monarchy on Jewish life in interwar Austria.

Born in southern Bohemia, Eduard Bloch was the fifth child of poor but highly educated parents. Between 1891 and 1899 he studied medicine at the Charles University in Prague, where he carried a revolver to protect himself from roving bands of anti-Semitic students. After serving six months as a medical officer in Linz, Bloch chose to establish his...

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