Ordinary Germans in Extraordinary Times: The Nazi Revolution in Hildesheim
By: Andrew Stuart Bergerson
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Hildesheim is a mid-sized provincial town in northwest Germany. "Ordinary Germans in Extraordinary Times" is a carefully drawn account of how townspeople went about their lives and reacted to events during...Read more
Hildesheim is a mid-sized provincial town in northwest Germany. "Ordinary Germans in Extraordinary Times" is a carefully drawn account of how townspeople went about their lives and reacted to events during the Nazi era. Andrew Stuart Bergerson argues that ordinary Germans did in fact make Germany and Europe more fascist, more racist, and more modern during the 1930s, but they disguised their involvement behind a pre-existing veil of normalcy.Bergerson details a way of being, believing, and behaving by which "ordinary Germans" imagined their powerlessness and absence of responsibility even as they collaborated in the Nazi revolution. He builds his story on research that includes anecdotes of everyday life collected systematically from newspapers, literature, photography, personal documents, public records, and especially extensive interviews with a representative sample of residents born between 1900 and 1930. The book considers the actual customs and experiences of friendship and neighbourliness in a German town before, during, and after the Third Reich.
By analyzing the customs of conviviality in interwar Hildesheim, and the culture of normalcy these customs invoked, Bergerson aims to help us better understand how ordinary Germans transformed "neighbours" into "Jews" or "Aryans."
About the author: Andrew Stuart Bergerson
.."Bergerson's study is an excellent example of how oral history, the history of everyday life and the exclusion of Jews and other groups can be linked. The author sustains the reader's fascination...Read more
.."Bergerson's study is an excellent example of how oral history, the history of everyday life and the exclusion of Jews and other groups can be linked. The author sustains the reader's fascination with his precise interpretations of small facts and apparently harmless statements made by interviewees. Even in cases when readers tend to other interpretations (which is inevitable) the author's excellent capability to provide inspiring, deep reaching, and theoretically well based interpretations cannot be questioned. In sum, the book is a real milestone in the history of people's perception and memories and a must for all historians whose research is based on oral history of everyday life in the National Socialist period." net
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