The Destruction of Jewish Businesses by the NazisUwe Westphal's Novel on the Brutal Aryanization of the Berlin Garment IndustryThe novel Ehrenfried & Cohn tells the dramatic tale of a Jewish clothing company in Berlin during the 1930s, when the Nazis were forcing Jews out of the country in order to appropriate their property on a grand scale, before later deporting the remaining Jews to death camps. Ehrenfried and his partner, Simon Cohn, are part of Berlin's ready-to-wear garment industry, which was world-famous at the time. Almost overnight, however, this dazzling fashion world loses its glow and becomes the setting of one of the bleakest chapters in Berlin's commercial history, in which an entire branch of industry is destroyed. Uwe Westphal's novel was first published in 2015 by Berlin's Lichtig-Verlag.Westphal is an expert in the subject. In his book Berliner Konfektion und Mode: Die Zerstörung einer Tradition 1836-1939, the historian had already offered an impressive account of the Aryanization of Jewish fashion companies and its ruthless backdrop. In his first novel, Ehrenfried & Cohn, Westphal brings his historian's view to the literary form in order to depict the tragedy experienced by Jewish fashion producers. They lose not only their property, their success, and their homes, but also their entire livelihood and even their right to exist."The characters in my novel were all real people, and the settings are also historically authentic. However, the storyline is fictional," says Uwe Westphal. The German "Paris" once pulsated with the spirit of the age. With the rise of the Nazis, however, Berlin's district of industrious tailors and merchants transformed more and more into a place of fear and horror. In gripping and vivid detail, Westphal illustrates the Nazis' raid on Jewish property and wealth. The hero of this novel, Kurt Ehrenfried, is an "assimilated" Jew who, for a long time, refuses to recognize the new reality of Hitler's Germany. In despair, he finally flees into exile - after having been robbed and cheated and with his future in ruins. After the war, he and his parter Cohn return to Berlin with the intention of reclaiming what had been so vilely stolen from them.