The ferocity of the anti-semitic Nazi attack upon the Jews took many by surprise. This book tries to explain why. The history of the Jews in modern Germany is usually told as the tale of outstanding individuals, completely immersed in German society and disproportionately contributing to its culture. This book focuses, however, on the story of “ordinary” German Jews, concerned not merely with being like other Germans, i.e. “assimilated,” but with upward social climbing and achievements as well. Although they did not seek to abandon Judaism, they tried to reformulate and reinvent it to fit their newly upgraded status. Thus, despite continuous antisemitism, Germany “seemed” to accept the Jews on these terms until World War II.