German Literature in the Nazi Era
The atrocities committed by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi government during World War II are well documented. Through innumerable media venues we have become acculturated to accounts of German invasions, the response of the Axis powers, and the horrors of the Holocaust. In the United States today, rarely are these events examined from the perspective of the Nazi party or even of the German peoples. We come to acknowledge of the war only from the Allied point of view, and are given no tools with which to critically examine the opposition.
This exhibition features primary source materials from Nazi-era Germany. The intent is not to promote or give approval to what happened, nor is this an exposition on the Holocaust. Instead, these books are presented as a critical examination of what was occurring before, during, and after the war in Germany through the literature published by or under the influence of the Nazi regime. Through these materials we can begin to understand the mentality of Nazi Germany and the concepts underpinning that government’s acts of aggression.
The books featured in this exhibition are part of a larger donation of 1,300 books made by Dr. Henry Wend to the UWM Libraries in 2006. They are materials collected by his grandfather, Dr. Eldon Burke, immediately after the war when Burke was an administrator for war relief efforts. Many of the books in the collection are from official government facilities, and were saved by Burke from destruction by Allied troops. As one of several examples in the collection, many of the books bear the ownership stamp of a convalescent home for Luftwaffe officers, revealing the collecting efforts and perhaps the reading habits of this particular segment of the party. These materials will primarily be housed in Special Collections, 4th floor, UWM Libraries.
The exhibition was on view in the 4th Floor Exhibition Gallery, during summer 2007.
This exhibit was researched and designed by Special Collections intern Lindsay Barone, a graduate student in the UWM Department of Anthropology and the Certificate Program in Museum Studies, and Mareike Bredehorst, a graduate student in the UWM Department of German. The online exhibition was adapted for Omeka by Anna Michelle Martinez-Montavon.