German Studies / History / Jewish Studies

Witness to History
A Refugee from the Third Reich Remembers
Joachim von Elbe

The author's life spans almost the entire 20th century. He witnessed an empire, three democracies, and a dictatorship.

Joachim von Elbe’s compelling autobiographical account spans most of the twentieth century. Born in 1902 in Hamm, Germany, he attended the Gymnasium in Neuwied-on-the-Rhine. A student of history and law at the universities of Hamburg, Kiel, and Berlin, he graduated to become research associate at the Institute for Foreign Public Law and International Law in Berlin.

Under Hitler, having been classified a “Mongrel of the Second Degree” because of his “non-Aryan” grandmother, he was dismissed from the public service and subsequently emigrated to the United States where he studied law at Yale University. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1941 and was drafted into the army in 1942. He became part of the American military government in Berlin, was on the legal staff of the Office of the U.S. High Commissioner for Germany, and eventually became the legal advisor at the American embassy in Bonn.
He participated in the reconstruction of the German legal order after the collapse of the Third Reich and was involved in the negotiations of the treaties which form the basis of Germany's readmission to the community of free nations and membership in the Western Alliance. After retirement in 1986 he became justice at the Supreme Restitution Court in Munich.

Distributed for the German-American Cultural Society and the Max Kade Institute for German-American Studies


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Von Elbe's book is white with black text and a small black image of leaves.

Fall 1989
416 pp. 6 x 9
ISBN: 978-0-299-97068-0
Cloth $18.95 s

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