A Childhood in Occupied Europe
181 pages / November 2005 / 9781844670390
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Eminent Marxist intellectual reveals class struggles in Nazi-torn Belgium.
This fierce memoir is both elegiac and indicting. Marcel Liebman's account of his childhood in Brussels under the Nazi occupation explores the emergence of his class-consciousness against a background of resistance and collaboration. He documents the internal class war that has long been hidden from history – how the Nazi persecution exploited class distinctions within the Jewish community, and how certain Jewish notables collaborated in a systematic program of denunciation and deportation against immigrant Jews who lacked the privileges of wealth and citizenship.
An eminent anti-Zionist and Marxist, Liebman tells the story of his family's struggle to survive in the face of persecution, terror and constant evasion, an existence observed with acuity, humor and lyricism.
“An engrossing and moving yet coolly dispassionate memoir. Going against the grain of Holocaust orthodoxy, Liebman depicts Jewish life under occupation in all its hues – including the craven complicity of the Jewish council – as well as the many, if still too few, acts of solidarity by Belgian workers, Communists and enlightened Catholics.”