A Small Town Near Auschwitz: Ordinary Nazis and the Holocaust
In A Small Town Near Auschwitz, historian Mary Fulbrook tells the story of Udo Klausa, a civilian administrator in the small town of Bedzin, an ordinary functionary who helped implement the Nazis' inhumane policies towards the Jews. Using a wealth of personal letters, memoirs, testimonies,... show more
In A Small Town Near Auschwitz, historian Mary Fulbrook tells the story of Udo Klausa, a civilian administrator in the small town of Bedzin, an ordinary functionary who helped implement the Nazis' inhumane policies towards the Jews. Using a wealth of personal letters, memoirs, testimonies, interviews, and other sources, Fulbrook pieces together Klausa's role in the unfolding destruction of the Jews under his authority, as well as the heroic attempts at resistance on the part of some of the victims of Nazi racial policies in this area. She also offers fascinating insight into the inner conflicts of a Nazi bureaucrat who, throughout, considered himself "a decent man."Udo Klausa's case is so important because it is in many ways so typical. Behind Klausa's story is the larger story of how countless local functionaries across the Third Reich facilitated the murderous plans of a relatively small number among the Nazi elite--plans that could never have been realized, on the same scale, without the diligent cooperation of these very ordinary men. As Fulbrook shows, men like Klausa "knew" and yet mostly suppressed this knowledge, performing their day jobs without apparent recognition of their own role in the carnage, or any sense of personal wrongdoing or remorse--either before or after 1945. For Fulbrook, an eminent historian, the story of Udo Klausa hits very close to home, because Fulbrook's mother was both a refugee from Nazi Germany and a close friend of Klausa's wife. Fulbrook has known the Klausa family all her life, but had no inkling of Udo's true role in the Third Reich until a few years ago, a stunning discovery that led directly to this deeply personal history of life in Nazi Germany.
Publish date: November 15th 2012
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Pages no: 464
Edition language: English
Back when I was a naïve bright-eyed college student thinking of becoming a school teacher and minoring in German, I briefly flirted with the idea of incorporating my love of history and my German degree by trying to solve the unsolvable while obtaining my Ph.D. What was that unsolvable question? Why...
Disclaimer: Received an ARC via Netgalley.The question of how people could just stand by and let something happen is always taken up in history. How much did the average German know about what occurred during the Holocaust? How much did the mayors and the other civilians administers know? How m...