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What was everyday life like under Nazi rule?

By On Monday, June 13th, 2016 Categories : Question & Answer

What was everyday life like under Nazi rule?. Are You mam has that kind of concern?, If yes then plz check the best solution right after below:

Jon Painter

My grandmother was born in Berlin in 1925. She was 8 when the Nazis gained power, 13 when the Anschluss happened, and 20 at the end of the war. I had some conversations with her about it as I grew up, so I can give you my sense of things based on our talks.

Her family lived in an apartment building. After the Nazis took over a family of Brownshirts moved in downstairs. It was understood that they were there to spy on people. She was not a fan of the Brownshirts in general and that family in particular.

There was a Jewish family in the apartment building. When the race laws were passed Jews were restricted on what they were allowed to buy, for instance they could only buy horse meat at the market. The families in the apartment building would periodically take turns cooking a stew or something and send it over with the children because kids carrying a pot were less likely to be stopped by the gestapo. Eventually the Jewish family disappeared. My grandmother never found out what became of them.

Everything was extremely clean and there was very little crime. If you were German, it was very safe to be out on the streets.

Throughout the 1930s there was a general sense of nationalistic pride in Germany. Things improved economically for most Germans. Hitler would regularly speak on the radio. I got a sense that he was well-liked by average Germans. At the time people felt pride and gave him a lot of credit for pulling Germany out of the economic hardships of the late 1920s.

She remembered being at school when the Nazis came and switched out all of the schoolbooks. They took all of the old books out and replaced them with new books compliant with the party ideology.

My grandmother’s family wasn't well off, but during the war they kept their valuables in a sort of community bunker. It took a direct hit from an allied bomb so they lost everything of sentimental value. For the rest of her life passing on something of value to me and my sister was something she talked about. I think part of this had to do with the poverty she experienced as a child and part of it had to do with all of the family valuables getting blown to bits.

Some of the war construction took place in the U-bahn tubes due to allied bombing.

The last 2 years of the war she served in the civil service. She worked in a bunker with 10 foot thick walls and a tunnel to enter and exit. She liked being at work because it was the only time she felt safe during the war. When there was an air raid while she was working, when she left the bunker they would have to crawl past bodies of people who hid in the tunnel and were killed.

After the war everyone was extremely poor and hungry. Roughly half of my grandmother’s classmates had died during the war, either from military service or allied bombing. It was extremely important to end up in a British or American zone as opposed to a Soviet sector. My grandmother lived in an area that became West Berlin, but had some friends and family that got stuck in the Soviet sector that became East Berlin.

My grandmother met my grandfather during the airlift. We have pictures my grandfather took that show the area near the Siegessäule was just devastated. Every stick that could be burned had been used in the winters to heat homes so people could survive. It was uncommon to find a household with a lot of wood furniture.

My grandparents dated while he was in Berlin and fell in love. She always joked that her mother liked him, because other than being a generally swell guy, he always had chocolate.

He eventually got transferred to Munich, so my Oma ran away to meet him. She didn't have money to buy papers on the black market, but she had this photo; a photographer friend had taken a test shot of my grandmother with his child. She took this picture to the train station and told the conductor that she needed to go to Munich because her daughter was there but she didn't have papers. So the conductor let her on the train. The train ran from West Berlin through East Germany. When they got near the border with West Germany, the train slowed down and all of the illegals hopped off and ran through the fields to cross the border. She said they had to bend down to stay under the crops and the whole time they expected to hear the Stassi yelling halt or shooting. Once they crossed the border they returned to the train line and reboarded. She left one weekend to meet my grandfather in Munich, got married and didn't see Berlin for 15 years.

She became an American under the War Bride act and moved to the US speaking almost no English, and that heavily accented. There was some general unpleasantness surrounding being a German in the US in the 1950s.

When they talked on the phone with friends and family in East Berlin, they assumed the East Germans were bugging the line. She didn't see those friends and family again until she went back to Berlin in the mid 60s. These were people that were close as siblings when she was growing up, that she talked with monthly or weekly for the rest of her life, but only saw once in the mid-60s and once in the early 80s.

She was a mess in November 1989 and she cried every year on reunification day, but by that point she wasn't up to making the trip back.

From her stories I got a different picture of growing up in Nazi Germany than we normally understand. In movies the cast always breaks down into protagonists and antagonists. Real life is messier, there were party members, zealots, brownshirts, Gestapo, SS, resistance, and everyday Germans. It could be absolutely safe to walk down the street, but saying the wrong thing about the people in power could be dangerous. It was understood that certain groups of people were treated a certain way, but no one was walking around explaining what was being done with these groups of people. It was popularly understood and taught that certain people should be treated that way, but it also violated norms of the social contract.

The scary thing is that most Germans in 1933 weren't that different from most Americans, they just let the monsters take power in a bad time.

She was always proud to be German, but felt so much shame for the rest of her life about the Nazi period. At the end of her life she talked about it quite a bit. In a way it felt like she wasn't seeking absolution for herself, but for what happened in Germany during her youth. The cost of Nazism was immense. There were 6 fat years as the Nazis ignored the Treaty of Versailles, and then death, famine, and a lifetime of shame and physical separation.

I don't say that to excuse Germans of the time, I say that to warn my countrymen today who seem so excited to cheer for nationalism and nativism without so much as a thought of the consequences.

It's a stain that doesn't wash off.

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