Good Neighbors, Bad Times

Mimi Schwartz: Good Neighbors, Bad Times. Echoes of My Father's German Village, paperback, 2009. 280 pp. 20 illustrations, ISBN 978-0-8032-2640-1; $16.95

Good Neighbors, Bad Times

About the book

How do decent people negotiate evil and remain humane when hate rules? This question is at the heart of Good Neighbors, Bad Times, by Mimi Schwartz, about a tiny German village where, as her father used to tell her, "everyone got along before Hitler." Through the memories of those who fled (the Jews) and those who stayed (their Catholic neighbors) -- all remembering the same shared life, now lost -- American-born Schwartz reenters his old world and encounters the untold stories of once-good neighbors, neither heroic nor evil, and their struggles to negotiate decency during and after Nazi times. More than the big tales of rescue and betrayal, these small stories, Schwartz discovers, make us ask more soberly: What does it mean to be an upstander? Do small decencies count? What would I have done then—and what would I do now for good neighbors under threat?

GOOD NEIGHBORS, BAD TIMES is ideal for courses, talks, and workshops focused on: the role of upstanders, Jewish-Christian relations, second-generation literature, the immigrant experience, and how memoir shapes our facing of history. Books are available through your local bookstore or through the University of Nebraska Press.


A brilliant book…a most human book…it is a book that should be read by all.

Shofar, the Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies.

Utterly riveting. It reintroduces one story at a time, the kind of human complexity…so often lacking when we confront the devastation of the Holocaust

Rosellen Brown, author of Before and After and Civil Wars.

Schwartz’s tone is gentle, her prose brilliantly clear and her insights keen.

Kirkus Review

A shrewd and insightful meditation on how our collective histories are discovered, constructed, revised, and debated—and how, finally, we learn to live with them.

Michael Walzer, author of Just and Unjust Wars.

A fascinating picture, atypical of so much written on this subject

The Washington Times

About the Author

Dr. Mimi Schwartz, a veteran speaker and teacher, is Professor Emerita at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. The author of five acclaimed books, she has been a Jewish Book Council author twice. Recent appearances as featured speaker include: the St. Louis Holocaust Center, University of Scranton--Center for Jewish-Christians Relations, Brookdale College Holocaust Center, Humboldt University in Berlin, the San Diego"s Jewish Book Festival, Princeton University, Oberlin College, the American Jewish Committee, the Geneva Writers Conference, and the City Congregation of Humanist Judaism (this May). She lives in Princeton, New Jersey.


2008 Book of the Year Award, Autobiography/Memoir Category Bronze Award Winner, sponsored by ForeWord Magazine

2009 New Hampshire Literary Awards - Outstanding Book of Nonfiction


Mimi Schwartz

Good Neighbors, Bad Times

Echoes of My Father"s German Village


2009. 280 pp.

20 illustrations

ISBN 978-0-8032-2640-1



For more information about the author, her books and reviews, interviews, etc., visit To schedule an event, contact Mimi Schwartz at MimiSchwartz2(at)