Good Neighbors, Bad Times Book Cover
Home Biography Books & Articles Events Writing Talk Workshops

Good Neighbors, Bad Times Book CoverGood Neighbors,
Bad Times:

Echoes of My Father’s German Village

In a little Black Forest village, a Torah was rescued on Kristallnacht—not by the Jews but by their Catholic neighbors. Mimi Schwartz sees the Torah 40 years later and wonders who saved it and why? Her father came from the village, but as he is no longer around to ask, she reenters his old world through the kitchens and living rooms of villagers who left (the Jews) and those still living there today (the Christians). She wants to know how they negotiated decency before, during, and after the Nazi years. As stories overlap, inform, and challenge each other, they reveal the lives of people, neither heroes nor villains, whose struggles are often lost in the larger narrative of Holocaust. More than dramatic tales of rescue or betrayal, these small stories, Schwartz concludes, make us ask more soberly: What would I have done then and what would I do now?

Click to order

Critical praise for Good Neighbors, Bad Times

Trenton Times interview

For a full overview of the book, click here.


Good Neighbors, Bad Times is utterly riveting. It reintroduces, one story at a time, the kind of human complexity to our understanding of “the perpetrators” so often lacking when we confront the devastation of the Holocaust.-- Rosellen Brown, author of Before and After

“A fascinating picture, atypical of so much written on the subject. Blessed with good antennae and a skeptical mind, Ms. Schwartz is not an innocent abroad. Never gullible or credulous, but open to the evidence of her own eyes and ears, she is an ideal guide to her father’s lost world, which for so long she resisted…. It is a measure of her nuanced approach and refusal to settle for pat, simplistic answers that her book finds and genuinely values a rare point of light in that darkest of times without ever exaggerating its overall significance.”
—The Washington Times

"Mimi Schwartz has written a memoir which is important for both Jews and Christians to read. Her quest provides a template for all who wish to confront the mystery of goodness" -
Alan Berger, Journal of Christian-Jewish Relations (forthcoming)

A shrewd and insightful mediation 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.

Unlike profiles of Oskar Schindler and Raul Wallenberg…Schwartz focuses on the everyday kindnesses practiced on a small scale, neighbor to neighbor [such as] “The barber cut Jewish hair under the sign NO JEWS ALLOWED HERE” to “Christians paid back debts to Jews even though the law said they didn’t have to…” These may be “small acts of defiance,” Schwartz concludes, “but “decency is so often such a solitary act; it’s evil that draws a noisy crowd.”
—JBooks. com