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children™s choice, the children did not have to remain subordinate to a tyran-
nical father (or overprotective mother) or trapped within an oppressive family.
Another variant of family con¬‚ict common in the Soviet Union occurred when
the parents™ stigmatized status, usually on the basis of class origin, blighted the
chances of their children, who therefore felt obliged to renounce them publicly
or in some way dissociate themselves. As far as we can tell from scattered
reports, however, this was usually not so much a rancorous con¬‚ict as a more

Fitzpatrick, Tear Off the Masks! 254“61.

There are many such letters in the Sovnarkom archive of A. Ia. Vyshinskii, sometime State

Prosecutor: See Gosudarstvennyi arkhiv Rossiiskoi Federatsii (GARF), f. 5446, op. 81a, corre-
spondence for 1939.
Energizing the Everyday 287

or less regretful parting, which the parents (for the good of the child) often

workplace bonds
Bonds between workers and employees at the workplaces obviously existed and
developed in both societies. The question is, How and in what directions? In
German industry from the 1920s various wage schemes stimulated “coopera-
tion of necessity,” mostly among fellow workers of similar skill and experience
engaged in a common task. Workers tended to consider this cooperation as
part and parcel of “doing a good job” and delivering “German quality work.”
Mutual support remained compartmentalized, however, and focused on the
speci¬c shop or work group; thus, “solidarity” meant little more than provid-
ing help in personal emergencies.51 Cooperation remained limited and was dic-
tated by necessity: to avoid injuries and to keep the ¬‚ow of production going,
thus ensuring both one™s wage and one™s satisfaction. Informal rules bound
rank and ¬le to collective standards of pace and intensity of work, thereby
channeling both demands of superiors and expectations of colleagues. Still,
the social spheres of skilled workers rarely overlapped with those of semi- or
unskilled workers, and the same was true of the sociability of male and female
workers, blue- and white-collar, not to mention recent recruits to the workforce
and second- or third-generation proletarians. Attachment to and participation
in formal associations like Social-Democratic, Communist, or Christian (pri-
marily Catholic) unions and political parties varied greatly among different
regions and branches of industry. There was intense competition that regularly
expressed itself in bitter ¬ghts and even physical violence.
Bonds were sectoral, also, among the wide array of clerical workers in state
and communal of¬ces and industrial administration as well as of commercial
enterprises and department stores. This is one reason why in April and May
1933 the immediate onslaught of SA and other Nazi gangs on the Socialist,
Communist, and Christian labor movements met with an apathetic and occa-
sionally approving response outside the inner circles of these organizations.
After the early 1920s the notion of a united working class had become a hol-
low phrase with very limited appeal to the majority of working people. Thus,
after 1933 Nazi efforts to organize working people from industry, clerical jobs,
and the peasant or estate economy particularly resonated in nonurban areas and
outside the centers of big industry, more so in Protestant than in Catholic areas.
Here, the programs of Schonheit der Arbeit meant tangible improvements that
addressed items from the usual wish list of male and female workers: toilets,

Alf Ludtke, “˜Deutsche Qualitatsarbeit,™ ˜Spielereien™ am Arbeitsplatz und ˜Fliehen™ aus der Fab-
¨ ¨

rik: Industrielle Arbeitsprozesse und Arbeiterverhalten in den 1920er Jahren,” in Arbeiterkul-
turen zwischen Alltag und Politik, ed. Friedhelm Boll (Vienna: Europa Verlag 1986), 155“97;
Alf Ludtke, “Hunger in der Großen Depression: Hungererfahrungen und Hungerpolitik am
Ende der Weimarer Republik,” Archiv fur Sozialgeschichte 27 (1987): 145“76.
Sheila Fitzpatrick and Alf Ludtke

running water, clean tables for coffee breaks, better light, and larger windows
in the shops. Recollections repeatedly and most vividly mention such innova-
tions as true evidence of a “new era,” especially those of workers who never
had been connected to any of the labor unions.
Bonds between workers developed for and in the context of limited projects,
such as piecework given to several people with similar or matching quali¬-
cations (though it also happened that mates would ask for certain tasks they
could do as a two-, three-, four-, or eight-man gang). Contrary to the Soviet
model, these work teams never were organized formally. In fact, wage schemes
aimed at stimulating individual performance and, thus, had to be circum-
vented when the needs of work¬‚ow demanded to operate in a work team. In
the 1930s, however, a new wage scheme became popular in industry: group
piecework (Gruppenakkord). This form of wage rested on the actual cooper-
ation of the respective work team, thus ensuring everyone™s share of the total
amount granted to the group upon completion of their task.52
Individual pride and satisfaction in one™s work abilities and the products of
one™s work were important in Germany both before and after the Nazi period.
Indeed, attachment to one™s work practice or task tended to be stronger among
German workers than attachment to mates or work teams. After the First
World War, union functionaries, management representatives, engineers, and
politicians had joined in a plea for “German quality work” as the prerequisite
for recovery of the German state and nation. Such pleas resonated with work-
ers™ aspirations for recognition beyond the cash nexus “ longings that were
ignored by the political and union organizations aiming at organizing indus-
trial (and agrarian) workers before 1933. While Nazi policies and practices had
the goal of controlling and manipulating workers, they nevertheless responded
in some degree to these aspirations and tended to stimulate the intensity of
individual workers™ effort and devotion to their task, whether this was pro-
ducing standardized screws or an airplane. Thus, the Nazi propaganda about
the “honor of labor” connected easily with the concept of “worker™s dignity”
many workers harbored.
In the Soviet case, the Revolution intensi¬ed feelings of working-class iden-
tity and its signi¬cance (the much-discussed “proletarian consciousness”) but
also to some degree moved its locus out of the workplace, so how this affected

Carola Sachse, Angst, Belohnung, Zucht und Ordnung: Herrschaftsmechanismen im Natio-

nalsozialismus (Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag, 1982); Rudiger Hachtmann, Industriearbeit
im “Dritten Reich”: Untersuchungen zu den Lohn- und Arbeitsbedingungen in Deutschland
1933“1945 (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1989); Carola Sachse, Siemens, der Nation-
alsozialismus und die moderne Familie: Eine Untersuchung zur sozialen Rationalisierung in
Deutschland im 20. Jahrhundert (Hamburg: Rasch und Rohring, 1990); Wolfgang Schafer, Die
Fabrik auf dem Dorf: Studien zum betrieblichen Sozialverhalten landlicher Industriearbeiter
(Gottingen: Werkstatt Verlag, 1991); Wolfgang Franz Werner, Bleib ubrig! Deutsche Arbeiter
in der nationalsozialistischen Kriegswirtschaft (Dusseldorf: Schwann Verlag, 1983); as to mul-
tiple everyday settings and practices among working people see Alf Ludtke, “People Working:
Everyday Life and German Fascism,” History Workshop Journal, no. 50 (2000): 74“92.
Energizing the Everyday 289

An anonymous ENGINEER FROM SMOLENSK, Russian by nationality and
born around 1913, was interviewed as part of the postwar Harvard Interview
Project on the Soviet Social System.53 A bene¬ciary of Soviet af¬rmative action
for workers™ and peasants™ children, he was characterized by his interviewer
as “exceptionally pro-Soviet.” His picture of his work life in the Soviet Union
was glowing. “I recall no friction at the plant. . . . The engineers called the old
lathe operators by their names and patronymics; they really consulted them
and discussed things seriously together. “There were no obstacles in my way”
as far as advancement was concerned. “For us, the idealists, who were itching
for action, who still had their romanticism of doing something useful, there
were greater opportunities, wider horizons far away, you might say. . . . Many
geologists volunteered to go to Siberia, into the Pamir, the Altai. They were
mostly young people.” Neither he nor any family members were ever arrested,
though some of his friends were.
He served in the army during the war and after the war worked in Germany
dismantling equipment, where he describes bursts of unexpected sympathy for the
defeated Germans and disgust at the Soviet army™s brutal conduct in East Prussia.
An emotional turning point occurred in 1947, when he returned to Moscow on
leave. “Somehow the sight of Moscow especially touched my patriotic feelings.
Seeing it the way it was, made all my ideals evaporate. On some central square a
number of interned women probably from the Balkans were working, repairing
something; they were clothed in rags, working under heavy guard. I felt awkward,
back home as a hero, on furlough! . . . In the courtyard I saw women working
with obvious physical evidence of famine. When I asked my friend, he said
there are many such “ they are the widows of soldiers who were killed in the
war. At home on furlough, I spent nights without sleeping, thinking about it.
All this impressed me so much. What was it we had won this war for?” With
regard to his ultimate decision to defect, he said: “For a normal human being
it must be dif¬cult to understand why I have come over. I sometimes wondered
myself what it is that makes a man change allegiance this way. Europeans are
cooler, more rational people. But we Russians, perhaps all the Slavs, are more
impressionable, more temperamental.” [Nothing earlier in the interview suggests
that he possessed these traits.]

bonds between workers in particular shops, workplaces, and union branches
remains somewhat unclear. 54 Work was scarce in the 1920s, with the result

Davis Center, Harvard University, “Project on the Soviet Social System. Interview Records. ˜A™

Schedule Protocols,” no. 517 (v. 26, pp. 2ff). Henceforth cited as Harvard Project. The Harvard
Project is now accessible online at http://hcl.harvard.edu/collections/hpsss/index.html.
On labor in the 1930s, see Donald Filtzer, Soviet Workers and Stalinist Industrialization: The

Formation of Modern Soviet Production Relations, 1928“1941 (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe,
1986); Hiroaki Kuromiya, Stalin™s Industrial Revolution: Politics and Workers, 1928“1932
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988); David L. Hoffman, Peasant Metropolis: Social
Identities in Moscow, 1929“1941 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1994); Lewis R. Siegel-
baum, Stakhanovism and the Politics of Productivity in the USSR, 1935“1941 (Cambridge:
Sheila Fitzpatrick and Alf Ludtke

that the trade unions, mainly dominated by male workers with prewar work
experience, often tried to enforce “closed shop” rules against women, peasants,
and inexperienced young urbanities trying to ¬nd employment. The situation
was further complicated by the fact that the status of “worker” was a socially
valuable one, opening the doors to many opportunities including higher edu-
cation. With the First Five-Year Plan at the end of the 1920s (accompanied by
the unpopular collectivization of agriculture), the urban unemployment prob-
lem disappeared and, at the same time, millions of peasants ¬‚ooded into the
urban industrial workforce. Con¬‚icts between “old” and “new” workers, as
well as between workers of different nationality in some parts of the country,
were frequent at this period. Strikes were not permitted (though they some-
times happened anyway), the scope for collective bargaining on wages was
greatly reduced, and the trade unions™ role was rede¬ned to focus on welfare
administration. In the mid-1930s, of¬cial campaigns for “socialist competi-
tion” between brigades and the Stakhanovite movement, rewarding individual
output, were seen by some as undermining workers™ solidarity and encouraging
“norm-busting.” At the same time, for blue- and white-collar workers alike,
the Soviet workplace was becoming increasingly important as a site of socia-
bility.55 This was probably partly related to the decline of other venues, to be
discussed later. But as the Soviet workplace became the primary unit for the
distribution of all sorts of bene¬ts, starting with rations and hot meals in the
hungry early 1930s, there were intrinsic, functional reasons as well.
Worker solidarity and the existence of close bonds within the workplace
community are so much the stuff of Soviet propaganda that it is dif¬cult to get
a clear picture on the Soviet side. A wealth of Stalin-period memoirs and oral
histories (admittedly composed to a stereotyped pattern) testi¬es to the impor-
tance of blue-collar bonding at enterprises, and there is post-Soviet testimony
(mainly from women) on bonding at the of¬ce as well as the factory.56 In 1990s
interviews, a woman engineer had fond memories of the bonds she formed
with “her girls” in the factory shop,57 while a male engineer interviewed as
an emigr´ by the Harvard Project spoke eloquently about the bonds between
young engineers, as well as with older workers, at his plant.58 To be sure,
there is other testimony about lack of harmony in the collective, for example,
con¬‚icts between “old” and “new” workers, or between Stakhanovites and

Cambridge University Press, 1988); Lewis H. Siegelbaum and Ronald G. Suny, eds., Making
Workers Soviet: Power, Class and Identity (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1994); Wendy
Z. Goldman, Women at the Gates: Gender and Industry in Stalin™s Russia (Cambridge: Cam-
bridge University Press, 2002); and Jeffrey J. Rossman, Worker Resistance under Stalin: Class
and Revolution on the Shop Floor (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005).
For a vivid ¬ctional picture of an of¬ce community in the late 1930s, see Lydia Chukovskaia™s

novella, So¬a Petrovna, trans. Aline Worth (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1988).
There are many such examples in the interviews with Leningraders on the 1930s in Na korme

vremeni: Interv™iu s leningradtsami 1930-kh godov, ed. M. Vitukhnovskaia (St. Petersburg:
“Neva,” 2000).
Engel and Posadskaya, eds., Revolution, 108 (Berezhnaia).

Harvard Project, no. 517 (v. 26), 11.
Energizing the Everyday 291

MELITA MASCHMANN59 was born in Berlin in 1918 to well-established
middle-class parents. As a schoolgirl on January 30, 1933, she witnessed the
torch-light parade of the NSDAP and its SA troops in Berlin celebrating Hitler™s
appointment as Chancellor. This march in its mixture of boisterousness and
solemnity made a lasting impression on her: “I was overcome by a burning
desire to belong to these people for whom it was a matter of life and death,”
which they expressed in ways “aggressive and sentimental” at the same time.
In the ranks of the Nazi organization she saw ful¬llment for her longing to be
attached “to something that was great and fundamental” and to leave behind
matters of “clothing or food or school essays” and other “derisory trivialities.”
In particular, Nazism and, concretely, Nazi Youth (or BDM) meant to her in
the ¬rst place to confront the “bourgeois values” represented by her parents and
their reliance on the unquestioned obedience of maids and her father™s chauffeur.
Without her parents™ knowledge, she joined the BDM, only to realize quickly that
she remained an outcast among these girls of “humble background” and rough
manners. However, she “took refuge in a fanaticism for work which kept his hold
on me . . . until the end of the Third Reich.” Upon graduation in 1937, she did her
obligatory BDM stint of a half-year of service, after which she was recruited for
a permanent position as a professional leader in that organization. Hard manual
work shaped the days (and nights) during her “service year” when she and her


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