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A Village in the Third Reich: How Ordinary Lives Were Transformed By the Rise of Fascism – from the author of Sunday Times bestseller Travellers in the Third Reich

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And although villagers objected to the behaviour of some Party members, there was a growing sense that “Hitler himself might really be the great leader Germans had been waiting for” (58) -

Its an obvious companion to Milton Sanford Meyer's 'They Thought They Were Free', looking at the lives of ten Nazi party members in another German small village.Given the almost universal support of the Nazi regime, and its concomitant rapid collapse, it’s understandable that the German people were conflicted and confused about their loyalties and morals. He found the inhabitants resistant to political propaganda and decided it was because they had been corrupted by tourist money. This last group caused a lot of anxiety in the village by the end of the War and even triggered the creation of a local resistance movement, which was eventually able to hand over the village unharmed to the French occupiers or liberators. Fink granted them residence permits and did not enforce full registration of their ethnicity, which meant their presence was less obvious to higher authorities. Maybe Oberstdorf was just like countless other German villages where self-interest and disinterest simply manifested itself in a willful moral blindness.

It is, therefore, the Hitler policy which this reviewer most expects to see replicated in the present day, because although very few people in influential positions would admit to being admirers of Hitler, it’s almost compulsory in certain political circles to profess an admiration for George Bernard Shaw. I was chuffed when I was allowed to read this stunning and encyclopeadic account of the Bavarian village of Oberstdorf - in the Allgäu region, and the most southern village in Germany during Nazi Germany. Chapter 13 is devoted to the invasion of Russia in 1941, Operation Barbarossa, interspersed with entries from the diary of a soldier, Gerd Aurich, from a town near Oberstdorf, who is dead from his wounds by the end of the year. Boyd finds numerous examples of humanity and heroism which illustrate the complexities and contradictions of this period - perhaps most strikingly embodied in Oberstdorf's mayor, Ludwig Fink, a committed Nazi who nonetheless protected several Jews living in the village. As Julia Boyd emphasizes, too many people allowed reverence for a nation’s glorious past to warp their judgment about its morally repugnant present.How could a nation that produced men like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Goethe produce not merely lesser men but men so depraved and debased—men like Hitler, Goering, Goebbels, and Himmler—that their names will be remembered a thousand years from now? But one thing stands out beyond doubt: even in the smallest of villages, the impact of Nazism and the Second World were inescapable. He stopped short of openly saying that he was going to kill them all, but he did in fact directly and personally set in motion the killing of eighty-thousand-odd of the most handicapped or “feeble minded” people.

This is an excellent social history, which makes the reality of those years personal and immediate and shows the discomfort that many had at that time. for anyone who understands the concept that ‘it takes a village to raise a child,’ will understand the concept ‘it takes an Auschwitz to understand a nation. There was also a German officer who didn't like the way others were treated and started the help people where he could.

Only the highest of praise goes out to the authors and publishing team for bringing us this amazing book that really brought out my emotions. In Boyd and Patel’s book the idyllic Alpine Bavarian village of Oberstdorf goes under the microscope. It was on the strength of this that I picked up this book, for that is its purpose – seeing how the Third Reich unfolded in an ordinary Bavarian village. From the author of the bestselling Travellers in the Third Reich comes A Village in the Third Reich: an extraordinarily intimate portrait of Germany under Hitler, shining a light on the lives of ordinary people. We need to raise over a quarter of a million pounds each year for our work to continue and this is only possible with your help.

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