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  1. Feb 2024
    1. Lettersand photographs, and the effort to archive them, indicated the ex-tent to which soldiers deliberately placed themselves in world his-tory and adopted for themselves the heroicizing vantage of theThird Reich
    2. In time of war and separation, the letters to andfrom soldiers serving on the front lines were precious signs of life.They were avowals of love and longings for home. They describedthe battlefield and conditions of military occupation and eventuallyprovided historians with crucial documents about popular attitudestoward the war and knowledge about the Holocaust.
    3. One Berliner “watched his fellow passengers as he trav-eled past the burning Fasenenstrasse synagogue between the S-Bahnstations Savignyplatz and Zoologischer Garten the next morning:‘only a few looked up to see out the window, shrugged their shoul-ders, and went back to their paper.
    4. Setapart from the familiar social contexts of family, work, and school,the closed camp was designed to break down identifications withsocial milieus and to promote Entbürgerlichung (purging bourgeoiselements) and Verkameradshaftung (comradeship) as part of theprocess of Volkwerdung, “the making of the people,” as the pecu-liar idiom of National Socialism put it.

      entbürgerlichung - purging bourgeois elements

      verkameradshaftung - comradeship

      volkwerdung - the making of the people

    5. Criticism of the disruption of publicorder was widespread, but should not be taken completely at facevalue. It undoubtedly veiled deeper moral objections that were oth-erwise difficult to articulate in Nazi Germany
    6. most Germans welcomed legis-lation clarifying the position of Jews and hoped it would bring to anend the graffiti and broken windows of anti-Jewish hooliganism.
    7. “What am I going to do?” won-dered Richard Tesch, an owner of a bakery in Ballendstedt’s mar-ketplace: “Israel has been buying goods from me for a long time.Am I supposed to no longer sell to him? And if I do it anyway, thenI’ve lost the other customers.
    8. Neighbors in Wedding who remarkedthat “the Jews haven’t done anything to us” despised antisemitismbut upheld the separation between “us” and “them” at which itaimed.85 Custom and habit gave way to self-conscious and inhib-ited interactions structured by the unambiguous knowledge of race
    9. The startling events of the spring of 1933, when more andmore Germans realized that they were not supposed to shop inJewish stores and when German companies felt compelled to fireJewish employees and remove Jewish businessmen from corporateboards, moved Germany quite some distance toward the ultimategoal of “Aryanizing” the German economy.
    10. Public humiliations such as these depended on bystanders willing totake part in the spectacle. They accelerated the division of neigh-borhoods into “us” and “them.
    11. As thousands of new converts joined the para-military units of the SA, whose numbers shot up ninefold from500,000 in January 1933 to 4.5 million one year later, the scale ofantisemitic actions expanded dramatically. Becoming a Nazi meanttrying to become an antisemite as well.
    12. The idea of normality had become racialized, so that entitlement tolife and prosperity was limited to healthy Aryans, while newly iden-tified ethnic aliens such as Jews and Gypsies, who before 1933had been ordinary German citizens, and newly identified biologicalaliens such as genetically unfit individuals and so-called “asocials”were pushed outside the people’s community and threatened withisolation, incarceration, and death.
    13. one of the key purposes of popu-lar entertainment in the Third Reich: the creation of a commonlyshared culture to define Germans to one another and mark themoff from others.
    14. s aresult, Victor Klemperer could repeatedly “run into” one of Hitler’sReichstag speeches. “I could not get away from it for an hour. Firstfrom an open shop, then in the bank, then from a shop again.”66Radio as well as film turned Nazism into spectacle.
    15. Tacked onto the doorways of apartments, posters, labels, and badgesattested to the fact that nearly all residents belonged to the People’sWelfare or contributed to Winter Relief.

      signaling you belonged, if you didnt participate you were probably suspected of being a subversive

    16. Millions of people acquired new vocabularies, joined Nazi organi-zations, and struggled to become better National Socialists. Whatthe diaries and letters report on is not simply the large numberof conversions among friends and relatives but the individual en-deavor to become a Nazi.
    17. Young people don’t walk anymore; they march.” “Ev-erywhere friends are professing themselves for Hitler.” To livein Nazi Germany, Ebermayer wrote, was to “become ever morelonely.”
    18. “Hei hatte sagt, wer non ganz un gar nichwolle, vor dän in Deutschland keine Raum”—“he said there is noroom in Germany for people who simply refuse to take part.”
    19. Hermann Aue “(very Left),” thoughtthe Nazis would be gone within a year, so he was inclined to stickwith the Social Democrats. But several Communists who had re-portedly joined a local SA group suspected that the Nazis would bearound for some time.
    20. The fact is that it is totally possible,” he carefully noted,“that the National Socialist state would use such a law to make it aduty for those without means and who are dependent on handoutsfrom the state to more or less ‘voluntarily’ take their lives.
    21. The euthanasia “actions” anticipated the Holocaust. Figuringout by trial and error the various stages of the killing process, fromthe identification of patients to the arrangement of special trans-ports to the murder sites to the killings by gas in special chambersto the disposal of the bodies, and mobilizing medical experts whoworked in secret with a variety of misleading euphemisms to con-ceal their work
    22. ventuallythe criminal charges that relatives threatened to bring against hos-pitals, the dismay of local townspeople who wondered why the pa-tients “are never seen again”—“in one south German village, peas-ant women refused to sell cherries to nurses from the local statehospital”—and finally, in August 1941, the open denunciation ofinvoluntary euthanasia by Clemens August von Galen, the Catholicbishop of Münster in Westphalia, prompted Hitler to order the spe-cial killing centers dismantled.
    23. In Berchtesgarden, in southern Germany, schoolteachers an-notated the tables of ancestors prepared by schoolchildren andhanded them over to public-health officials
    24. Most candidates for sterilization came from lower-classbackgrounds, and since it was educated middle-class men who weremaking normative judgments about decent behavior, they were bothmore vulnerable to state action and less likely to arouse sympathy
    25. The rou-tine intervention of the police in the corners of daily life of Germancitizens explains why the Gestapo assumed the “almost mythicalstatus as an all-seeing, all-knowing” creature that had placed itsagents throughout the land to overhear conversations in order toenforce political conformity
    26. Did shesympathize a little bit with people who were not considered wor-thy? Perhaps so, because Gisela recalled the incident in postwar in-terviews; but other Germans continued to improve themselves bygrooming themselves as Aryans, sitting up straighter, filling out thetable of ancestors, and fitting in at the camps, which gave legiti-macy to the selection process that had created Gisela’s anxiety inthe first place
    27. With the massive expansion of the Hitler Youthto include girls as well as boys, more than 765,000 young peoplehad the opportunity to serve in leadership roles. Many advancedin the ranks and received formal training and ideological instruc-tion in national academies such as the Reich Leadership School inPotsdam.
    28. The Ministry of Education authorized the National So-cialist Teachers’ League to organize retraining camps in order to“equip,” as Rust put it, teachers with lesson plans in “heredity andrace”; an estimated 215,000 of Germany’s 300,000 teachers at-tended two-week retreats at fifty-six regional sites and two nationalcenters that mixed athletics, military exercises, and instruction.
    29. Arbeitsdienstmänner worked together as a unit, marched toget-her, and relaxed together, an unending group existence designed topull together the people’s community.
    30. We have to go with the times, even if thereare many, many things that we do not agree with. To swim againstthe current just makes matters worse.”
    31. More thana third of the 1938 graduating class of the Athenaeum Gymnasiumin the north German city of Stade hoped to pursue a career as an of-ficer in the Wehrmacht or a youth leader in the Hitler Youth
    32. The consciousness of generation, and the assumption thatold needed to be replaced with new, undoubtedly opened youngminds to the tenets of racial hygiene, which were repeatedly parsedin workshops and lectures.
    33. Boththe Hitler Youth and the Reich Labor Service aimed to mix bour-geois and working-class youths in order to pull down social barriersto the formation of national race consciousness.
    34. Enrollment for four years in theHitler Youth and then six months in the Reich Labor Service wasmade mandatory for boys in 1936 and for girls three years later
    35. Filled with photographs, graphs, and tables, thepropaganda of the Office for Racial Politics made the crucial dis-tinction between quantity and quality—Zahl und Güte—easy tounderstand. Unlike Streicher’s vulgar antisemitic newspaper, DerStürmer, the Neues Volk appeared to be objective, a sobering state-ment of the difficult facts of life

      hiding behind objectivity. ppl saying things and being like well its just fact w/o the ability to double check

    36. By the middle of 1937 the Office of Racial Politics hadtrained over 2,000 “racial educators,” who on the basis of an eight-week course in Berlin received a special speaker’s certificate enti-tling them to address Germans on population and race policy. Certi-fication was part of the effort to make German racism objective
    37. vast network of Gemeinschaftslager or com-munity camps was established across Germany; at one point or an-other, most Germans passed through them. Alongside concentra-tion camps and killing camps, the training camps were fundamentalparts of the Nazi racial project.

      gemeinschaftslager - community / training camps to educate germans on racial ideology

    38. In November in Weimar, he promised that “if to-day there are still people in Germany who say: ‘We are not goingjoin your community, but stay just as we always have been,’ then Isay: ‘You will die off, but after you there will a young generationthat doesn’t know anything else!’”

      brah

    39. But it also made demands on ordinary Germans, who neededto visualize the Volk as a vital racial subject, to choose appropriatemarriage partners, and to accept “limits to empathy.”
    40. he Germanpopulation was being resorted according to supposed genetic val-ues, a project that required all Germans to reexamine their rela-tives, friends, and neighbors.
    41. The journalistSebastian Haffner noted that people in his circle in Berlin suddenlyfelt authorized to express an opinion on the “Jewish question,”speaking fluently about quotas on Jews, percentages of Jews, anddegrees of Jewish influence
    42. Race defined the new realities of the ThirdReich for both beneficiaries and victims—it influenced how youconsulted a doctor, whom you talked to, and where you shopped.
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