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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: December 2019

5 - Peanuts for the Führer (1933–1939)


Chapter 5 compares the colonies’ opinions about the Nazi Party in Germany and its bid for transnational vösch unity, which I label “(trans)National Socialism.” The Menno Colony’s communal understanding of Germanness made vösch propaganda about Hitler’s “New Germany” unappealing. They rejected all forms of nationalism as worldly attempts to thwart their cultural-religious isolationism. The refugees of Fernheim Colony, by contrast, shared little communal unity owing to their diverse origins and looked to Nazi Germany and its overseas aid organization, Volksbund fä Deutschtum im Ausland (VDA), for inspiration. They believed that the highest goal of vösch unity was promoting communal unity, and created a youth group, called the Jugendbund, and a newspaper called Kämpfende Jugend. Resembling other German–speaking communities in Latin America, the two colonies – which seemed identical to visiting Nazi observers ’ held vastly different interpretations of völkisch nationalism at the height of the Nazi bid to establish transnational German unity in Latin America. Latin America, for its part, presents a unique context for studying the Nazis relationship to Auslandsdeutsche because it held the allure of being the last prospect for German cultural and economic expansion, but was impossible for the German state to invade.