Sigmund Stein was a prominent lawyer in the town of Hochburg, a German with deep roots in rural Germany. When fellow Jews urged Stein to leave Germany in the 1930s and after, he refused, arguing that he could best serve his people by acting as a buffer between the Jewish community and the Nazis. From 1933 to 1944 he was methodically stripped of his rights as a citizen and his dignity as a human being. The torment of his Jewish heritage and his proud German upbringing—the divided loyalty of a lifetime—was finally resolved in Auschwitz. Published in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. "An extraordinary and original book. This is the compelling biography of a man who lived during an incredibly complex period of history—a typical 'little man' who happened to be Jewish, always trying to take the easy way out, who walked to his doom small step by small step. This is the first single biographical account of a fairly assimilated German Jew who lived in Germany up to the very end."—Bruno Bettelheim. "Dickinson's narration of Stein's tragic life is written with the skill and style of a fine novelist."—Choice.
John K. Dickinson based his re-creation of Sigmund Stein's life on historical research and interviews with almost two hundred persons who had contact with Stein while he lived. Mr. Dickinson, a former professor of sociology, now lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.