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( 115 .)


Yuri Slezkine, The Jewish Century (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004), 297“

312. See also Genadii Kostyrchenko, Tainaia politika Stalina: Vlast™ i antisemitizm (Moscow:
Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniia, 2001).
For the emergence of the policy of extermination against the Jews, see: Christopher R. Browning

(with contributions by Jurgen Matthaus), The Origins of the Final Solution: The Evolution of
¨ ¨
Nazi Jewish Policy, September 1939“March 1942 (Lincoln: The University of Nebraska Press,
2004); Peter Longerich, Politik der Vernichtung:Eine Gesamtdarstellung der nationalsozialis-
tischen Judenverfolgung (Munich: Piper, 1998). For implementation of the “Final Solution,”
see Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews (New Haven, CT: Yale University
Press, 2004). For an overview that integrates the victim experience, Saul Friedlander, The Years
of Extermination, Vol. 2: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1933“1945 (New York: HarperCollins,
Christopher R. Browning and Lewis H. Siegelbaum

possesses a land when even the last inhabitant of this territory belongs to his
own people.”112 But neither the inclusion of the Volksdeutschen or ethnic
Germans on the conquered territories, the repatriation of ethnic Germans from
Soviet territory and Southeast Europe, nor even the ruthless kidnapping of chil-
dren deemed racially suitable to be raised by German parents could begin to ¬ll
the void. At its most expansive, Generalplan Ost envisaged both the “German-
ization” of selected East Europeans (a hotly disputed issue among Nazi racial
experts and demographic engineers) and the recruitment of Dutch, Scandina-
vian, English, and overseas ethnic German colonists to populate Germany™s
Lebensraum.113 In the meantime the Germans made use of local auxiliaries
whom they referred to as “Askaris,” the term for the native troops who had
served in the German colonial armies in Africa before 1918.
The fate of the conquered populations of East Europe that were not to
be included in the Volksgemeinschaft was either systematic destruction (for
the Jews everywhere and the mentally and physically handicapped as well as
Roma and Sinti within German Lebensraum) or ¬rst subjugation and then, for
many millions, starvation or expulsion to Siberia to make way for German
settlement.114 And by subjugation the Nazis meant both reduction to a “helot
status” or enslavement, on the one hand, and denationalization or cultural
genocide, on the other. The Nazi assertion of German identity as the “master
race” meant the destruction of both the freedom and the identity of those
whom they ruled.
If in the 1930s the cohesiveness of the Volksgemeinschaft was based in no
small part on the illusion of restoring a mythical unity through the repression
of all political pluralism and the exclusion of stigmatized minorities, the war
years posed a new challenge by unleashing the regime and revealing the vast
magnitude and radical nature of its racial revolution. For ordinary Germans
participation in the conquest and occupation of Europe, especially “in the
east,” was a quite different experience from the relative domestic tranquility of
the prewar years.115 The polarizing effect of war itself, binding the Germans
and their regime together, was reinforced by the heady and corrupting effect of
dominating the conquered territories as the “master race.” Victory and empire
completed the transition of the Volksgemeinschaft from the restoration illusion
of a uni¬ed community of the German people to the Nazi vision of a racial
community waging eternal struggle “ a Kampfgemeinschaft. The vital cohesive

Himmler memorandum, June 24, 1940: National Archives micro¬lm, T175/122/266598ff.

Helmut Heiber, “Der Generalplan Ost,” Vierteljahrshefte fur Zeitgeschichte 3 (1958): 283“

325, esp. 288.
For two model regional studies of the incredibly destructive Nazi occupation policies in East-

ern Europe, see Dieter Pohl, Nationalsozialistische Judenverfolgung in Ostgalizien 1941“1944:
Organisation und Durchfuhrung eines staatlichen Massenverbrechens (Munich: Oldenbourg,
1996); Christian Gerlach, Kalkulierte Morde: Die deutsche Wirtschafts- und Vernichtungspoli-
tik in Weissrussland 1941 bis 1944 (Hamburg: Hamburger Edition, 1999).
Christopher R. Browning, Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution

in Poland (New York: HarperCollins, 1992).
Frameworks for Social Engineering 263

power of “camaraderie” (Kameradschaft) “ so effectively appropriated by the
Nazi regime as a companion notion of Volksgemeinschaft “ helped preserve
the staying power of military units,116 and even the industrial working class,
whose disaffection the regime had feared, proved to be loyal soldiers who
fought tenaciously to the bitter end.117 The bonds of identity between regime
and people held, and ordinary Germans who had been supportive of the regime
now also became willing accomplices in its crimes. Himmler in various speeches
tried to cloak the perpetration of these crimes in the guise of traditional values:
idealism, heroic toughness, sobriety, and sel¬‚ess incorruptibility. The real expe-
rience of those implementing German racial imperialism was the total opposite:
unfettered sadism and cruelty, cowardly conformity, widespread drunkenness,
and pervasive self-enrichment and corruption. If German expansion made Ger-
man soldiers and occupation of¬cials into a “master race” abroad, on a much
smaller scale the importation of millions of foreign workers provided Germans
domestically with the concrete experience of racial domination as well.118 And
German women not only provided moral support for their men, but partic-
ipated directly in racial imperialism as pioneers in the “Germanization” of
conquered territories.119
After the tide of war turned and the defeat of the Third Reich loomed
ever nearer, the notion of the Volksgemeinschaft was transformed once again,
from a racial community establishing imperial dominion over Europe into
a Schicksalgemeinschaft or “community of fate.” The Germans were once
again victims, who suffered the devastation of allied bombing, the uprooting
of millions from their ancestral homes in the east, pillage and rape at the
hands of a vengeful Red Army, and geographical partition and dismemberment.
Collectively, they were also the victims of Hitler and the Nazis, who left them
with the consequences of defeat and burdened them with the guilt and shame
of the regime™s crimes. And as individuals within that community of fate, they
were victims of the misfortune or bad luck that had seen them assigned to an
antipartisan unit in the Balkans, a police battalion in Poland, an Einsatzgruppe
in Russia, or guard duty in one of the myriad camps spread all over Europe.
With the end of the war, the community of fate had become also a community
of self-pity. For all the rupture of 1945, at least, one continuity stood out. As

Thomas Kuhne, Kameradschaft: Die Soldaten des nationalsozialistischen Krieges und das 20.

Jahrhundert (Gottigen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2006).
Omer Bartov, “The Missing Years: German Workers, German Soldiers,” German History 8,

no. 1 (1990): 46“65. Tim Mason, Social Policy in the Third Reich: The Working Class and
the “National Community” (Providence, RI: Berg, 1993), 276“8, 331“69.
Ulrich Herbert, “Der ˜Auslander“Einsatz™ in der deutschen Kriegswirtschaft,” Arbeit, Volks-

tum, Weltanschauung (Frankfurt am Main: Fischer, 1995), 135; and Hitler™s Foreign Workers:
Enforced Foreign Labor in Germany under the Third Reich (Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 1997), 395“6.
Koonz, Mothers in the Fatherland. Elizabeth Harvey, Women in the Nazi East: Agents and

Witnesses of Germanization (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003). In numerous
publications Gundrun Schwarz has also documented women™s involvement in the SS.
Christopher R. Browning and Lewis H. Siegelbaum

Robert Moeller has observed, German victims of the war were still perceived
as part of the new postwar community, but victims of the Nazi regime were

conclusion: the pursuit of lethal utopias
The trajectories of ascribed social identity in the Soviet Union under Stalin and
Nazi Germany were quite different, and no attempt has been made here to
argue for an essential homology or to force them into a unitary interpretive
framework. Nevertheless, it seems incontestable that both regimes assumed
the right to inscribe identity and impose categorization for the purpose of
social engineering through exclusion and puri¬cation, and that they did so
with unfettered use of force and violence. Aside from lacking all inhibitions
about the use of violence, both regimes assumed they not only should but also
could accomplish such ambitious projects of social engineering because their
ideologies emphasized a key determinative factor “ class or race “ in making
history. Unlike many Europeans who were chastened by the catastrophe of
World War I, Stalinists and Nazis thought the “realization of Utopia”121 was
within their grasp. In both cases, as well, the relentless, if not chiliastic, pursuit
of the ideal society via the annihilation of class enemies and the isolation of
enemy nations, in the case of the Soviet Union, and the elimination of racially
and biologically “defective” elements, in Nazi Germany, consumed enormous
resources that proved counterproductive to the achievement of other declared
objectives. These, then, are the major similarities at the level of state practices.
The differences are no less striking. In the USSR, the state™s identi¬cation of
the population according to the criterion of class was particularly prominent
in the late 1920s and early 1930s. This criterion gave way by the mid-1930s to
more complex, multifaceted forms of identi¬cation in which distinctions among
nations constituted an especially important role. With the war, Soviet citizens
had the possibility for the ¬rst time since the civil war of choosing to ¬ght for the
regime or collaborate with its declared enemy “ the Nazi invader “ and thereby
of de¬ning their own identities. In Germany in the 1920s, the people™s own sense
of identity and their yearning for the sublimation of con¬‚icting identities into
the Volksgemeinschaft were key. After 1933 the regime™s escalating practice
of ascribing identity and categorizing enemies became increasingly prominent
and fateful, eventually extending to the occupied territories as well.
Secondly, Soviet policies of ascribing and stigmatizing certain identities,
which were executed by means of persecution and exclusion, affected large
portions of the population. In Germany, those excluded were a small minority,
which allowed for enthusiastic support for the regime and a strong sense of

Robert Moeller, War Stories: The Search for a Usable Past in the Federal Republic of Germany

(Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001), 7.
We borrow this phrase from Hans Mommsen, “Die Realisierung des Utopischen: Die

˜Endlosung™ im Dritten Reich,” Geschichte und Gesellschaft 9 (1983): 381“420.
Frameworks for Social Engineering 265

security and well-being by the majority, as well as the majority™s relative indif-
ference to the fate of the minorities. Only with the conquest of non-German
territories did the numbers of Nazi victims increase exponentially. In the Soviet
Union, by contrast, the war enabled previously stigmatized groups to expunge
the stains on their records through service in the Red Army or participation
in partisan groups resisting Nazi occupation. More generally, the blending of
Soviet with more traditional patriotic appeals broadened popular support.
Finally, after following different trajectories for so long, Soviet and German
societies experienced an ironic convergence: Soviet victory and German defeat
created a situation in which sacri¬ce and suffering in war were the de¬ning
experience for both, even if general acknowledgment of that equivalence would
have to wait until after the end of the Cold War.

Energizing the Everyday
On the Breaking and Making of Social Bonds
in Nazism and Stalinism

Sheila Fitzpatrick and Alf Ludtke

Hannah Arendt™s suggestion that social “atomization” was fundamental to
totalitarian domination has appealed greatly to many scholars and intel-
lectuals.1 Despite, or perhaps because of, this, it is a hypothesis whose empirical
¬t with the societies it purports to describe has never been seriously scrutinized.
We took it as starting point for our comparative inquiry into the everyday in
Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia that in each case some kind of breakdown
(but perhaps also a recon¬guration?) of social relationships took place.
Arendt™s analysis focuses not only on the apparatus of domination and
its manipulative and represses tactics. In her view more fundamental is the
“movement” of “masses of lonely men” looking for shelter from a world they
encountered as “wilderness.” Thus, Arendt ¬nds that the appeal of totalitarian
movements and regimes is not fabricated from “above.” Rather, she contends,
the rulers “rely on that compulsion with which we can compel ourselves.”
Recent research has shown that it is this urge which drives people to participate
actively in the “great cause” of the respective regimes. It is here that the “inner
face” of the many who accepted, if not supported, them comes into view.
In our view it is central for understanding the productive and even more the
destructive potential of these regimes to address the emotional charges that
drove their respective dynamics “from within”: what were the practices of
(self-)energizing which people employed or encountered?
The perspective Arendt pursues needs debate in another regard. In her
appraisal of the “redeeming grace of companionship”2 she portrays such bonds
as restraining people from practicing that violence which is the most striking

Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, 2nd ed. (San Diego, New York: Harvest/

Harcourt, 1966) (1st ed. 1951), 14. While Arendt refers to processes that prestructure the
terrain for totalitarian movements other researchers have taken her point on “atomization” as
the striking characteristic of Nazi and Stalinist policies; see Detlev Peukert, Inside Nazi Germany:
Conformity, Opposition, and Racism in Everyday Life, trans. Richard Deveson (New Haven,
CT, and London: Yale University Press, 1987, 241, cf. 240 and 248.
Arendt, 174.

Energizing the Everyday 267

component of totalitarian regimes. Here, Arendt™s moral stance may limit the
explorative capacity of her approach. Close inspection of actual forms and
meanings of social bonds shows their inherent ambivalence. Family ties or, for
that matter, comradeship at the workplace or in a military unit offers not only
comfort but also function as last resort in times of hardship or distress. Thus,
the very intensity of these bonds makes possible violence against “others.”
Our approach in this essay is to focus on an issue centrally relevant to
Arendt™s perspective: bonds between people, on the one hand, and people™s
bonds to the Nazi and Stalinist sociopolitical projects, on the other. We look
¬rst at practices of inclusion: bonding with the state project and its energizing
“charges” followers claimed or encountered; then we turn to the severing
of bonds associated with exclusion; we go on to consider family bonds and
sociability at and outside the workplace; and ¬nally focus on the process of
creation or renewal of bonds, which, while consonant with the state project,


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