Hidden deep in the Bavarian mountains lies the picturesque village of Oberstdorf – a place where for hundreds of years people lived simple lives while history was made elsewhere.
Yet even this remote idyll could not escape the brutal iron grip of the Nazi regime.
From the author of the bestsellingÂ Travellers in the Third ReichÂ comesÂ A Village in the Third Reich: an extraordinarily intimate portrait of Germany under Hitler, shining a light on the lives of ordinary people. Drawing on personal archives, letters, interviews and memoirs, it lays bare their brutality and love; courage and weakness; action, apathy and grief; hope, pain, joy and despair.
Within its pages we encounter people from all walks of life – foresters, priests, farmers and nuns; innkeepers, Nazi officials, veterans and party members; village councillors, mountaineers, socialists, slave labourers, schoolchildren, tourists and aristocrats. We meet the Jews who survived – and those who didn’t; the Nazi mayor who tried to shield those persecuted by the regime; and a blind boy whose life was judged ‘not worth living’.
This is a tale of conflicting loyalties and desires, of shattered dreams – but one in which, ultimately, human resilience triumphs.
These are the stories of ordinary lives at the crossroads of history.
‘An utterly absorbing insight into the full spectrum of responses from ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.’
‘Penetrating beneath the clichÃ©s about Nazi Germany, here are ordinary people trying to cope with extraordinary times. Their vivid, moving stories leave us asking “What would I have done?”‘
Professor David Reynolds, author ofÂ Island Stories: An Unconventional History of Britain
‘Laying bare the tragedies, the compromises, the suffering and the disillusionment. Exemplary microhistory.’
Roger Moorehouse, author ofÂ First to Fight: The Polish War 1939
‘Brilliantly researched and expertly told, this is a truly fascinating exploration of how a small village community responded to the rise and fall of the Nazis in Germany.’
Keith Lowe, author ofÂ Savage ContinentÂ andÂ Prisoners of History.