Hitler's clean slate : everyday life in the Reichskommissariat Ukraine, 1941-1944 / by Karel Cornelis Berkhoff.
This is the first detailed study of the impact of Nazi rule on the largest colony of Germany's Third Reich, the Reichskommissariat Ukraine. It should be of interest to students of the Soviet Union, eastern Europe, Nazi Germany, and the Holocaust. Although the majority population—Ukrainians—receive the most attention, this is intended as a territorial history and, therefore, takes into account the experiences and perceptions of non-Ukrainians as well. The focus is on three aspects of everyday life under civilian Nazi rule: (1) socio-economic conditions—work, housing, food, and famine; (2) spiritual life—religious and popular culture, ethnic identity, and political loyalties; and (3) special targets of the Nazis—prisoners of war, Jews, Roma/Gypsies, ethnic Germans, and candidates for forced labor in the Reich—as well as the relation of these people with the rest of the population. This work is based on many published materials and in particular on a wide range of primary sources that were previously not available to researchers. German-language sources include documents produced by the Nazi authorities, dealing with the Reichskommissariat Ukraine, the Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories, and the SS. Other sources are the records of the auxiliary native administrations in the Kiev region; records of Communist underground activists and partisans; contemporary newspapers, magazines, brochures, leaflets, and posters; folkloric materials, diaries, and memoirs; and interviews conducted by Soviet historians during the 1940s as well as by the author during the 1990s. One of the contentions of the study is that Nazi rule, besides being mortally dangerous for the inhabitants, was a tremendous disappointment for the vast majority of the population. Nonetheless, throughout this period prewar mentalities continued to have a tremendous hold over the native population. In particular, it is very doubtful whether the Nazi experience prompted more than a limited nostalgia for Soviet rule, and it is also unlikely that Ukrainians became more conscious of their ethnicity. In the final analysis, the Nazi regime did little more than kill people. It hardly had any impact on the Weltanschauung of those who survived.
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