Geisteswissenschaftliches Kolloquium: Mirna Zakić (Ohio): "The Furthest Watch of the Reich. National Socialism and Ethnic Germans"
Jan 20, 2014
from 12:15 PM to 01:00 PM
|Where||FRIAS, Albertstr. 19, large room|
|Contact Name||Anna Blattner|
|Contact Phone||0761 203 97362|
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My project, The Furthest Watch of the Reich: National Socialism and Ethnic Germans, 1941-1944, will examine the relations between the Third Reich and the Volksdeutsche of Southeast Europe within the context of the occupation of parts of the Yugoslav lands by the former during World War II. This project departs from the trends evident in the historiography of this period: a reduction of these relations to a top-down imposition unmodified by the Volksdeutsche's local concerns and experiences (in English-language literature), a legitimizing national 'myth' about unqualified collaboration and penetration by Nazi ideals (in postwar Yugoslav historiography), or an emphasis on the Volksdeutsche's postwar suffering without reference to the wartime context (in Serbia historiography since the early 1990s). Instead, this study introduces complexity and nuance by examining why National Socialism as an ideology appealed to the Volksdeutsche, what other reasons they had for collaboration, and what social developments and political decisions drew them ever deeper into complicity with Nazi crimes, despite private reservations some Volksdeutsche may have had. The specific focus on the Volksdeutsche minority in the Serbian (Western) Banat under Reich occupation, its interactions with Adolf Hitler's government, and its participation in military operations and the Holocaust in the Banat, Serbia and the Independent State of Croatia allows for an in-depth analysis of the issues of occupation, collaboration and ideology. The Banat Volksdeutsche saw the occupation of their home region as liberation and empowerment, but their participation in Nazi racial policy and anti-partisan warfare in Southeast Europe led to their decisive disempowerment in the immediate postwar period, in the wake of Nazi defeat. As a case study of occupation, the case of the Banat Volksdeutsche illustrates the dynamic between ideology, occupation, collaboration, and the (dis)empowerment of collaborationist groups.