German Voices: Memories of Life during Hitler's Third Reich

German Voices: Memories of Life during Hitler's Third Reich

German Voices: Memories of Life during Hitler's Third Reich

German Voices: Memories of Life during Hitler's Third Reich

Synopsis

What was it like to grow up German during Hitler's Third Reich? In this extraordinary book, Frederic C. Tubach returns to the country of his roots to interview average Germans who, like him, came of age between 1933 and 1945. Tubach sets their recollections and his own memories into a broad historical overview of Nazism--a regime that shaped minds through persuasion (meetings, Nazi Party rallies, the 1936 Olympics, the new mass media of radio and film) and coercion (violence and political suppression). The voices of this long-overlooked population--ordinary people who were neither victims nor perpetrators--reveal the rich complexity of their attitudes and emotions. The book also presents selections from approximately 80,000 unpublished letters (now archived in Berlin) written during the war by civilians and German soldiers. Tubach powerfully provides new insights into Germany's most tragic years, offering a nuanced response to the abiding question of how a nation made the quantum leap from anti-Semitism to systematic genocide.

Excerpt

I was born in San Francisco on November 9, 1930. In 1933, when I was three, my father and mother, Germans by birth, returned with me to Nazi Germany and the village of Kleinheubach on the Main River, southeast of Frankfurt. Shortly before I turned four, my mother died suddenly at the age of twenty-seven. I was raised first by my paternal grandparents and then by a stepmother, to whom this book is dedicated. Thus, I spent my childhood and teenage years in Germany during Hitler’s ascent to power, World War II, and the immediate postwar years. An American by birth, I reclaimed my citizenship in 1949 and returned to California at the age of eighteen.

I belong to the young generation of Germans born between 1925 and 1935 who grew up during the most tumultuous period in twentieth-century German history, and I share many experiences, thoughts, and emotions with my German compatriots. After I returned to the United States, my life diverged drastically from those of relatives and friends I left behind. I came . . .

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