A Village in the Third Reich: How Ordinary Lives Were Transformed By the Rise of Fascism
Oberstdorf is a beautiful village high up in the Bavarian Alps, a place where for hundreds of years ordinary people lived simple lives while history was made elsewhere. Yet even here, in the farthest corner of Germany, National Socialism sought to control not only people’s lives but also their minds.
By putting one village under the microscope, this book evocatively portrays the momentous period of Nazism in Germany. Why did Germans respond to Hitler in the manner that they did? How did their attitudes change as the war progressed? And when all hope was gone and their country lay in ruins, how did they pick themselves up and start again?
Drawing on archive material, letters, interviews and memoirs, A Village in the Third Reich is an extraordinarily intimate portrait of Germany under Hitler, of the descent into totalitarianism and of the tragedies that befell all of those touched by Nazism. In its pages we meet the Jews who survived – and those who didn’t; the Nazi mayor who tried to shield those persecuted by the regime; and a blind boy whose life was thought ‘not worth living’. It is a tale of conflicting loyalties and desires, of shattered dreams, despair and destruction. But if this is primarily a tale of political tragedy, it is also one in which human resilience triumphs. These are the stories of ordinary lives at the crossroads of history.
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