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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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It's very informative and even though it occasionally becomes a little confusing, it's still worth a read. A rich and absorbing book, - maybe even a bit too overwhelming for the layman -, but as a Germanist, this book proved to be an absorbing read, and an incredible journey through the Oberstdorfarchives and eyewitness accounts of the villagers.

The book gave me a whole new perspective into the life of the German people after the First World War and during the tumultuous times of the Nazi regime.And in between there are the stories of how ordinary Germans lived with privation, how they grieved for their men killed in the war (or at home through selection or in work camps). Elbrus, the highest mountain in Russia and Europe, by members of the Wehrmacht’s mountain division, was a publicity stunt and seems to be included in this book simply because three of the climbers were from Oberstdorf. Moderate Nazi” is the ultimate contradiction in terms, and there is no indication that Fink was trying to destroy the whole system from within. If we agree that some Nazis were worse than average - the sadistic Oskar Dirlewanger and his SS Brigade of rapists and murderers come to mind - it stands to reason that others might have been less evil. Boyd finds examples of humanity, sometimes in the most unexpected of places – a case in point is Oberstdorf’s mayor who, despite being a committed Nazi, also protected several Jews living in his village.

Allen drew attention to the most spectacular Nazi device for raising funds and justifying their rule, the Eintopfgerichtsonntage or “Stew Sundays.The education system was so subsumed to Nazi ideology that one teacher confessed to a friend that he’d choose imprisonment in a concentration camp to teaching students such garbage, except that his family members would also be punished. I often find books of this nature too large in scope to really connect with - they feel like just facts. One perhaps expected this chapter to reveal more about Oberstdorfers response to the atrocity stories against Jews and Slavs told by soldiers on leave.

And so the community of Oberstdorf, whose citizens knew an awful lot about cattle-farming in an alpine environment, found policies being dumped on it from above by people, most of whom knew nothing about farming. Resistance to Zettler came from an unexpected quarter: Oberstdorf’s long-standing Nazi Party members resented Zettler’s ascendance because he was newly arrived in the village and a recent convert to fascism. It was a time of suspicion and mistrust; one neighbour to another; afraid to say the wrong thing for fear of the reprisals. The first half of the book gives a fairly idea of how Hitler came to power, and how the Nazi ideology came to dominate every aspect of life, with examples ranging from the children’s sanatorium 'Hohes Licht’ (est. This is one of those books that is hard to rate because the content has such a somber air around it.In this follow up to her book "Travellers in the Third Reich", Julia Boyd examines the effects of Nazism and WWII on one village in Bavaria, Germany. I found this a compelling and moving read which gave me a fresh understanding of this period of German history. 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. Julia Boyd now focuses on Oberstdorf, southernmost village in Germany over the 12 years of Nazi rule. But one should also consider that the Nazis consciously sought to nip in the bud any attempts at criticism and dissent, and their violent tactics were unfortunately effective at silencing opposition.

However, despite these noble intentions, Boyd is good at showing how much of life is not black or white, but shades of grey. This is a tale of conflicting loyalties and desires, of shattered dreams—but one in which, ultimately, human resilience triumphs.Julia Boyd (assisted by Angelika Patel) explores this question by zooming in on a single Alpine village, Oberstdorf.

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