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Nein, Nein, Nein!: One Man’s Tale of Depression, Psychic Torment, and a Bus Tour of the Holocaust


A guided group tour to concentration camps in Poland and Germany allows Stahl to confront personal and historical demons with both deep despair and savage humor

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What people are saying…

“Gonzo meets the Shoah in this wildly irreverent—and brilliant—tour of Holocaust tourism . . . Stahl knows his Holocaust history . . . but he was also prepared to be surprised . . . A vivid, potent, decidedly idiosyncratic addition to the literature of genocide.”
Kirkus Reviews, a Best Nonfiction Book of 2022

“Stahl embarks on Holocaust tourism in this meditative yet humorous account, weaving personal narrative with reflections on current and past global events.”
New York Times Book Review

“[Stahl’s] razor-sharp gallows humor will have you howling one moment, breathless the next in the presence of wrenching generational pain, of humanity at its very worst, and goodness at its camouflaged best.”
Brooklyn Rail

“An audacious, emotional journey.”
The Village Voice

One of Kirkus Reviews 20 Best Books to Read in July 2020

“There aren’t many authors today who are willing to revisit the Holocaust and write about it. But then again, most authors aren’t Jerry Stahl, who has the chutzpah to pull it off masterfully . . . The author’s witty prose is appreciated because without levity a trip around the concentration camp horn would make any man or woman beg for mercy. His ability to provide his readers with a seat on the bus to experience the tour is exceptional. There was only one man for this job, and that man is Jerry Stahl.”
Vol. 1 Brooklyn

“[A]ll his books showcase Stahl’s lacerating humor and his talent for staring straight down the tunnel of humanity’s darkest impulses . . . Stahl’s new memoir is no exception: Call Nein, Nein, Nein! a travelogue through hell, both an account of concentration camp tourism and a personal mediation on its meaning.”
Orange County Register

“The hallucinatory self-depreciation of Jerry Stahl’s memoir allows for a nuanced look at the audacity of the ugly American . . . Stahl is celebrated for his masochistic honesty that is never less than brutal and almost always on the other side of hope, but in Nein, Nein, Nein!, we get something dangerously close to an Anne Frank-level of optimism.”
Texas Observer

“There’s a laugh on almost every page of Nein, Nein, Nein, but for all his wit and somewhat skewed perspective, Stahl never loses sight of the gravity of the places he visits . . . Stahl’s book shows the thought processes of a man feeling at his lowest soothing his ‘shpilkes’ by experiencing one of the most sobering, draining tours one can possibly imagine. For him, it’s cathartic, and readers might find it to be the same for them.”
Jewish Journal

“While Nein, Nein, Nein! is darkly confessional, it is also an exploration of how we remember the Holocaust and whether it is even possible to properly mourn and honor the victims of unspeakable tragedy . . . The result is a sort of gonzo travel book about the ways the Holocaust is memorialized, commercialized and trivialized in the countries where it took place.”
Jewish Telegraphic Agency

“Mordantly funny . . . Fusing provocative insights with razor-edged wit, this offers a captivating take on a haunting chapter of history.”
Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“Gonzo meets the Shoah in this wildly irreverent—and brilliant—tour of Holocaust tourism . . . A vivid, potent, decidedly idiosyncratic addition to the literature of genocide.”
Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

“Stahl’s talent, one that’s central to a rich Jewish legacy, is turning the tragic and cruel, the unjust and infuriating into something funny. With nimble pacing, he wryly reveals humanity’s baser instincts—the hypocrisy, the often commercialized, performative morality—exposing what lies (in all senses of the word) beneath.” —Coachella Review

“[D]aring, caustic, often laugh-out-loud manic in its staring down of Holocaust tourism.”
Moment Magazine

Featured Review of the Day in PW Daily

“Crackling . . . Bizarre, distressing, hilarious and hopeful. Read it immediately.”

“Stahl is Jewish, and his dark gallows humor is one that many Jews will recognize as they read this book. He blends personal history with general history, and captures snippets of bigotry and antisemitism in 2016 with the rearview mirror that we have now of what was to come. It’s an unexpectedly insightful book — not an easy read, but worth it.” —Bookriot

Featured in NewPages New Book preview

Nein, Nein, Nein! is the unbelievable true story of a guided bus tour to Nazi concentration camps, told as only Jerry Stahl can tell it, with an acid wit as deadly serious as it is hilarious, insane, and weirdly life-affirming. The destinations he describes are real, but who else would dare to take us there? Stahl is fearless, gripping, and most unsparing about his own damned soul. I read everything he writes.”
—Eric Bogosian, actor/playwright

“There’s dark humor, and then there is Nein, Nein, Nein! Jerry Stahl manages a balancing act here that would put all the trapeze artists of the world to shame.”
—Lucy Sante, author of Low Life

“A disturbing, funny, dark travelogue.”
—Marc Maron

“Few have such an eye for life’s perverse absurdity as Jerry Stahl, and his disturbing, hilarious, self- deprecating, and honest voice jumps off the page in Nein, Nein, Nein! There is nobody I’d rather take this gnarly journey with than Stahl, whose gonzo literary madness belies a steady, tender core.”
—Michelle Tea, author of Against Memoir

“Jerry Stahl, whose manic self-annihilating riffs dance on the volcano-lip of the abyss, is a writer I’ve been quoting compulsively for twenty-five years. His voice is a hell-broth of fascinating contradictions: the king of mordant cool who writhes with anxious terrors, the professed nihilist with a scalding moral vision, the gifted ironist who really bleeds.”
—Christopher Goffard, writer/host of the podcasts Dirty John and Detective Trapp

“Darkly hilarious . . . a tour bus through literal hell. Nein, Nein, Nein! is the manic chronicle of a Jew confronting personal and historical demons at sites of past devastation and modern-day tourist kitsch. The result is a surreal carnival of cringe amid bursts of profound historical clarity and often unsettling emotional resonance.”
—Eli Valley, cartoonist, creator of Diaspora Boy: Comics on Crisis in America and Israel

“Stahl explores the dark side of the dark side.”
—Larry Charles


In September 2016, Jerry Stahl was feeling nervous on the eve of a two-week trip across Poland and Germany. But it was not just the stops at Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and Dachau that gave him anxiety. It was the fact that he would be traveling with two dozen strangers, by bus. In a tour group. And he was not a tour-group kind of guy.

The decision to visit Holocaust-world did not come easy. Stahl’s lifelong depression at an all-time high, his career and personal life at an all-time low, he had the idea to go on a trip where the despair he was feeling—out-of-control sadness, regret, and fear, not just for himself, but for the entire United States—would be appropriate. And where was despair more appropriate than the land of the Six Million?

Seamlessly weaving global and personal history, through the lens of Stahl’s own bent perspective, Nein, Nein, Nein! stands out as a triumph of strange-o reporting, a tale that takes us from gang polkas to tour-rash to the truly disturbing snack bar at Auschwitz. Strap in for a raw, surreal, and redemptively hilarious trip. Get on the bus.

Watch Jerry Stahl discuss Nein, Nein, Nein! in conversation with Ben Stiller at the 92nd Street Y. Click here for a photo from the event.

Stahl is a guest on the WTF podcast with Marc Maron.

Listen to Jerry Stahl discuss his new memoir on KCRW’s Greater LA, The Daily Beast’s The New Abnormal, Salt Lake Dirt, Drinks with Tony, The Lydian Spin, Books on Pod.

Read an interview with Jerry from The Village Voice, Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle.

Watch a live interview with Jerry Stahl on The David Feldman Show.

Read a blog post about Nein, Nein, Nein! by Robert Rosen.

Book Details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Published: 7/5/22
  • IBSN: 9781636140254
  • e-IBSN: 9781636140391


JERRY STAHL has written ten books, including the best-selling memoir Permanent Midnight, made into a movie with Ben Stiller; the essay collection OG Dad; and the novels Pain Killers; I, Fatty; Perv; Plainclothes Naked; Happy Mutant Baby Pills; and Bad Sex on Speed. A Pushcart Prize–winning author, Stahl’s work has appeared in Esquire, Vice, the Believer, Tin House, Los Angeles Review of Books, and the New York Times, among other places. He has written extensively for film and television, including HBO’s Hemingway & Gellhorn, which earned a Writers Guild Award nomination; Bad Boys II; and the cult classic Dr. Caligari; series credits include Maron, CSI, and Escape at Dannemora, for which he received an Emmy nomination. Stahl’s writing has been widely translated, and he has taught with the InsideOUT Writers program for incarcerated youth, edited The Heroin Chronicles for Akashic Books, and participated in the documentary series, San Quentin Film School. He has two daughters, and lives with artist Zoe Hansen. Nein, Nein, Nein! is his latest book.

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