The Rosenstrasse Protest

Nathan Stoltzfus Florida State University

Professor Nathan Stoltzfus of Florida State University discusses his book “Resistance of the Heart” about these protests.

The interview begins by discussing other protests against policies of the regime, including the Catholic Church’s protest of the so called “mercy killings” of developmentally disabled children by gassing. This protest resulted in this policy being officially stopped, but it was unofficially continued. Like with the order to gas the Jews (which he never put in writing), Hitler was reluctant to sign his name to this policy and did so only reluctantly after the policy had begun.

The Rosenstrasse Protest are then discussed. At its height, about 500 people at one time were protesting the two thousand jews being detained. Most of the protesters were the spouses of the Jews being held. Professor Stoltzfus discusses the significance of the protest, and whether other types of protest was possible in Nazi Germany that could have saved more lives. He shows that Hitler was quite concerned with his popularity and the opinion of the German people.

Also discussed is the question of what do these protests tell us about protesting current authoritarian regimes in power today?