Stoltzfus has been published or critically acclaimed in, among other publications, The Atlantic Monthly, Die Zeit, The Times Literary Supplement, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Christian Science Monitor, The Financial Times, The Times of London, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Sunday Telegraph, the New Statesman, The Jerusalem Post, Le Monde. He has appeared on various German, British, and American radio and TV programs including ZDF, RIAS, SFB, COMCAST, Monitor TV, NPR, BBC. He is also the chair of the FSU Rhodes Scholarship Competition Committee and a member of the faculty of the National Judicial College. Before his academic career Stoltzfus interned with the ACLU, was the editor of the American Indian Journal, and a Public Information Specialist for the Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior.
His articles include the following:
Dissent in Nazi Germany (with selected letters to the editor), The Atlantic Monthly, September, 1992.
These letters were selected to show the range of criticisms to this article and they include accusing the Germans of knowing about the Holocaust when they in fact knew nothing; calling the Holocaust the “greatest crime in history” by ignoring other “cruelties”; propagandizing on behalf of Germans while having a “Jewish first name”; slighting the role of women in protests in Hitler’s Germany; “lugubrious manipulation [of] this hypothetical event”; gullibly in claiming that “peoples” bear some responsibility for the “conduct of their governments”; writing a history of “America in the 60’s and 70’s not Germany in the 30’s and 40’s”; ignoring Allied guilt by focusing on that of the Germans, and so forth. It was not until my years in Berlin as a Fulbright scholar that I began to realize that not just a few persons suspected I had Jewish ancestry, apparently because of my name. A friend from the Jewish Community Gad Beck astonished me one day by stating that I must immediately tell persons that I am not Jewish since otherwise they will assume I am, and then feel like I deceived them when they find out otherwise. Growing up in tightly knit community that strove for separation from ‘the world’ , my name had been little more than that of a minor biblical character–many of my ancestors, being Mennonites and Amish, had names from the Hebrew Bible as well.
Die Wahrheit Jenseits der Dokumententen, Die Zeit, October 30, 2003. This is my contribution to what Die Zeit editors in their introduction called a “Historikerstreit” about the meaning of the Rosenstrasse Protest in Berlin in the late winter of 1943. It was written in response to an article by the esteemed German historian Wolfgang Benz, although other excellent scholars have disagreed with my interpretations as well.
His other articles include:
“A Great Achievement of German Troops in Mountain Warfare:” Cold War Pressures and the German Persecution of Wehrmacht War Crimes in the Case of Cephalonia, 1943,” in Nazi Crimes and the Law, Nathan Stoltzfus and Henry Friedlander, eds. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008)
“Public Space and the Dynamics of Environmental Action: Green Protest in the German Democratic Republic,” in Archiv für Sozialgeschichte, Vol. 43 (2003)
Rosenstrasse: Deabte and Documents
OSS “trustworthy” Source Information on the Protest
Excerpts from Goebbels Diaries on Intermarried Jews and Protest
The debate over the impact of the protest on Berlin’s Rosenstrasse in late winter 1943 concerns basic elements of the character of the Nazi regime and how it has been perceived. What role did National Socialism allot for the “racial” German people in its conception of power and in its functions?
Thus the debate has implications for the question of whether and under what circumstances “racial” Germans could or did modify the regime’s policies, even if merely on a local scale or in matters of timing. It is well established that the regime did delay the implementation of some actions required by its ideology in order to avoid social unrest and to maintain the appearance put forth in its propaganda that all but a fringe of Germans were united behind Hitler. Public protests by groups voicing the opinion of many Germans could pose problems the regime wanted to avoid.
An OSS telegram dated April 1, 1943 cites a “trustworthy” source and refers to the protest caused by the arrests of intermarried Jews in February and March 1943, during a massive roundup of the remaining remnants of Jews in Berlin: “Action against Jewish wives and husbands on the part of the Gestapo . . . had to be discontinued some time ago because of the protest which such action aroused.”
The basic conflict for the regime of deporting intermarried Jews was expressed by Hitler as Goebbels recorded it in his diaries on November 22, 1941: “Concerning the Jewish Question, the Führer is fully in agreement with my points of view. He wants a forceful policy against the Jews, though one that does not cause us unnecessary difficulties. . . . Concerning the Jewish mixed marriages, especially those in artist’s circles, the Führer recommends [empfiehlt] that I follow a somewhat reserved course of action since he is of the opinion that these marriages in any case will die out bit by bit, and one shouldn’t get any gray hair over this.”
The regime wanted to kill Jews married to non-Jews, for after all they were identified by the Nuremberg Laws of 1935 as “full Jews” to be included in all aspects of the persecution. Outside of the boundaries of Germany the regime did kill intermarried Jews. But Hitler notes that within Germany, intermarried Jews were to be deported only up until the point that this caused unnecessary difficulties.
In his diary for March 7 1942, Goebbels identifies circumstances that led Hitler to anticipate difficulties, writing that intermarried couples and their children raise “a gazillion questions of extraordinary delicacy.” The Regime learned during its “Euthanasia” program that it was often difficult to victimize just one member in a family without stirring up surviving family members. The regime tried to keep this program secret but it had become clear that it was killing Germans who could not pull their weight economically. This program to kill “racial” Germans whom the regime considered congenitally weak led to rumors and public denouncements from the pulpit in 1941. Bishop Galen warned that the decisions about who was killed, under this program, was arbitrary and that no one could be sure who would be killed next; would a soldier seriously injured at war also be put to death for costing the state more than he could now give in return?
To avoid a repetition of rumors and protests while carrying out the genocide of Jews, the regime wished to maintain an obvious line between who was the victim and who was not in danger, between the Jewish population being deported and the German population who should feel safely exempted. If the “racial” German in the intermarried couple requested divorced, the regime’s policy was to deport the divorced Jew. However, as long as an intermarried couple insisted on remaining married, the regime treated them as a single unit. It did not as a policy forcibly separate intermarried couples because this could have led to rumors and protests by the remaining family members, like those caused by the “Euthanasia” murders.
Concerning street protest and the release of intermarried Jews in Berlin Goebbels wrote on March 6, 1943: “The people gathered together in large throngs and even sided with the Jews to some extent. I will commission the security police not to continue the Jewish evacuations during such a critical time. Rather we want to put that off for a few weeks; then we can carry it out all the more thoroughly.” Goebbels writes that he does not intend a change of racial ideology or policy but only a change of timing. For him, whose job was to maintain morale, this was an episode about timing. But historians who deny that the protest had any impact not only discount the OSS telegram and other documents, they discount this statement from Goebbels (although they do cite his diaries elsewhere as a basis of factual information).