Friday, February 26, 2016

Hitler’s Volksgemeinschaft and the Dynamics of Racial Exclusion

Cover of Hitler’s Volksgemeinschaft and the Dynamics of Racial Exclusion: Violence against Jews in Provincial Germany, 1919–1939 by Michael Wildt

Hitler’s Volksgemeinschaft and the Dynamics of Racial Exclusion: Violence against Jews in Provincial Germany, 1919–1939

“Wildt offers a deep impression of what it actually meant for Jews to live in a society defined as a Volksgemeinschaft at least by its leaders…[His] book offers readable and detailed insight into what it meant to produce Volksgemeinschaft. It is by now a standard work on the early years of National Socialist anti-Semitism and supplies an inspiring view on the transformation of German society between the years 1919 and 1939.” · H-Net

"Hitler's Volksgemeinschaft convincingly blends larger conceptual claims with detailed historical analysis of specific localities. One cannot walk away from the book still thinking that the German population in Hitler's Germany was oblivious to, or unwilling to endorse, years of violently exclusionary mechanisms set in motion against Jews - the prelude to their eventual extermination." · Holocaust and Genocide Studies

“[Wildt’s] interpretation contests some of the established assessments. Even though the role of the ‘Volksgemeinschaf’ in this process is debatable, the concept inspired a study worth reading…[It]is definitely a thought-provoking book.” · Journal of Contemporary European Studies

In the spring of 1933, German society was deeply divided – in the Reichstag elections on 5 March, only a small percentage voted for Hitler. Yet, once he seized power, his creation of a socially inclusive Volksgemeinschaft, promising equality, economic prosperity and the restoration of honor and pride after the humiliating ending of World War I persuaded many Germans to support him and to shut their eyes to dictatorial coercion, concentration camps, secret state police, and the exclusion of large sections of the population. The author argues however, that the everyday practice of exclusion changed German society itself: bureaucratic discrimination and violent anti-Jewish actions destroyed the civil and constitutional order and transformed the German nation into an aggressive and racist society. Based on rich source material, this book offers one of the most comprehensive accounts of this transformation as it traces continuities and discontinuities and the replacement of a legal order with a violent one, the extent of which may not have been intended by those involved.

Michael Wildt studied history, cultural studies, and theology at the University of Hamburg. From 1993 to 2009, he was a Research Fellow at the Research Centre for Contemporary History in Hamburg, the Hamburg Institute for Social Research, and The International Institute for Holocaust Research, Yad Vashem, Jerusalem. He is Professor of Modern German History at the Humboldt University in Berlin.

Published by: Berghahn Books

Source: Jewish Study Library

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