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Men's Club Book Group
"The Many Deaths of Jew Süss" by Yair Mintzker
Wednesday, Mar 7th 8:30 AM

One East 65th Street
Open to all temple members

Joseph Süss Oppenheimer
“Jew Süss” — is one of the most iconic figures in the history of anti-Semitism. In 1733, Oppenheimer became the “court Jew” of Carl Alexander, the duke of the small German state of Württemberg. When Carl Alexander died unexpectedly, the Württemberg authorities arrested Oppenheimer, put him on trial and condemned him to death for unspecified “misdeeds.” On February 4, 1738, Oppenheimer was hanged in front of a large crowd just outside Stuttgart. He is most often remembered today through several works of fiction, chief among them a vicious Nazi propaganda movie made in 1940 at the behest of Joseph Goebbels.

The Many Deaths of Jew Süss is a compelling new account of Oppenheimer’s notorious trial. Drawing on a wealth of rare archival evidence, Yair Mintzker investigates conflicting versions of Oppenheimer’s life and death as told by four contemporaries: the leading inquisitor in the criminal investigation, the most important eyewitness to Oppenheimer’s final days, a fellow court Jew who was permitted to visit Oppenheimer on the eve of his execution, and one of Oppenheimer’s earliest biographers. What emerges is a lurid tale of greed, sex, violence and disgrace — but are these narrators to be trusted? Meticulously reconstructing the social world in which they lived, and taking nothing they say at face value, Mintzker conjures an unforgettable picture of “Jew Süss” in his final days that is at once moving, disturbing and profound.

The Many Deaths of Jew Süss is a masterfully innovative work of history and an illuminating parable about Jewish life in the fraught transition to modernity. (Source: Publisher’s website)

YAIR MINTZKER is associate professor of history at Princeton University. He is the author of The Defortification of the German City, 1689–1866.



Open to all members of the temple, our discussion will be held in the Marvin and Elisabeth Cassell Community House (One East 65th Street).

QUESTIONS? Contact the Men’s Club.


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