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Private Life and Privacy in Nazi Germany
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Book description

Was it possible to have a private life under the Nazi dictatorship? It has often been assumed that private life and the notion of privacy had no place under Nazi rule. Meanwhile, in recent years historians of Nazism have been emphasising the degree to which Germans enthusiastically embraced notions of community. This volume sheds fresh light on these issues by focusing on the different ways in which non-Jewish Germans sought to uphold their privacy. It highlights the degree to which the regime permitted or even fostered such aspirations, and it offers some surprising conclusions about how private roles and private self-expression could be served by, and in turn serve, an alignment with the community. Furthermore, contributions on occupied Poland offer insights into the efforts by 'ethnic Germans' to defend their aspirations to privacy and by Jews to salvage the remnants of private life in the ghetto.


'An extraordinary, inquisitive, immersing exploration of lives lived in the Third Reich, where the grit of detail and sharpness of insight exposes an entire century that stumbled in war and peace. You will be well-guided by the eloquence of the contributors and unsettled by their conclusions.'

Peter Fritzsche - University of Illinois and author of An Iron Wind

'This volume looks at the Third Reich from a fresh and productive angle. A range of excellent chapters show that privacy was by no means absent from the supposedly ‘collectivistic’ dictatorship. Rather, it was reinterpreted, granted and denied in peculiar ways.'

Moritz Föllmer - Universiteit van Amsterdam

'The contributors to this volume deepen and refine our understanding of the boundaries of the private sphere in a society suffused by propaganda and subjected to continual attempts at political mobilization. These important essays show us how millions of ordinary Germans experienced daily life in the Third Reich.'

Alan E. Steinweis - University of Vermont

'The essays in this splendid volume, all fresh, readable and authoritative, remind us why the question ‘What happened to the private sphere in Nazi Germany?’ is important and offer persuasive approaches to answering it.'

Eve Rosenhaft - University of Liverpool

‘… the volume’s combination of new empirical research and theoretical sophistication is impressive, representing an important point of departure for anyone interested in the private and privacy in the Third Reich.’

Eric Kurlander Source: European History Quarterly

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