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Gaëlle Fisher, Caroline Mezger, Introduction — The Holocaust in the Borderlands: Interethnic Relations and the Dynamics of Violence in Occupied Eastern Europe in:

Gaëlle Fisher, Caroline Mezger (ed.)

The Holocaust in the Borderlands, page 7 - 34

Interethnic Relations and the Dynamics of Violence in Occupied Eastern Europe

1. Edition 2019, ISBN print: 978-3-8353-3565-3, ISBN online: 978-3-8353-4419-8, https://doi.org/10.5771/9783835344198-7

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RESEARCH ARTICLES 9 Gaëlle Fisher and Caroline Mezger Introduction—The Holocaust in the Borderlands: Interethnic Relations and the Dynamics of Violence in Occupied Eastern Europe The Holocaust, though initiated by the Third Reich, was a profoundly transnational phenomenon: the majority of its victims came from outside Nazi Germany, and its bloodiest sites of genocide lay beyond Germany’s borders.1 During World War II, Europe’s contested multiethnic borderlands in particular saw unprecedented upsurges in violence against Jews, Roma, and other persecuted minorities. From the Baltic States to Bessarabia to the Western Banat and beyond, Axis occupational authorities worked in conjunction with local populations to persecute, dispossess, deport, and murder millions. In this process, occupiers not only relied on pre-existing local ethnic and national movements and conflicts; they also spurred violence, which profoundly redefined notions of national, ethnic, and social belonging. In recent years, historians of the Holocaust have increasingly turned to its many local contexts in Eastern, Central, and Southeastern Europe to explore its embeddedness in dynamics of both the “macro” and “micro” scales. On the one hand, historians have shown convincingly how Hitler’s imperial ambitions, combined with the Third Reich’s wartime expansion and its numerous allies’ territorial and ideological aspirations, helped set the stage for the European-wide persecution, deportation, and murder of the continent’s Jews. On the other hand, studies of the “micro” scale have illustrated how particular longue-durée historical contexts, existing social relations, local ideological projects, and individual actions 1 Doris L. Bergen, War and Genocide: A Concise History of the Holocaust (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2003), ix. 10 Gaëlle Fisher and Caroline Mezger helped mold the experiences of Holocaust violence in particular places. Combined, such studies have suggested many interesting ways in which World War II, Nazi Germany’s diverse occupational policies, and existing and shifting dynamics of local interethnic relations became crucial to the distinct unfolding of the Holocaust in different societies, particularly in Europe’s contested borderlands. This volume represents a first synthetic attempt at exploring the Holocaust in the borderlands. Situated at the intersection between “macro”and “micro”-level approaches to the Holocaust in Europe’s numerous transnational settings, it brings together novel and critical insights on the borderlands in Eastern, Central, and Southeastern Europe with the growing body of research on the dynamics of violence in the wider region. By placing the mass murder of European Jews into larger contexts of different military occupations and interethnic conflicts during World War II, this volume seeks to problematize the relationship between state structures and popular mobilization — perspectives “from above” and “from below” — in the unfolding of Holocaust violence. To explore these interactions systematically, its contributions address several related questions: What was the effect of shifting borders and/or pre-existing loyalties on the dynamics of violence in the borderlands? How did the experience of violence and occupation reshape interethnic relations and other social relationships in these regions? Can patterns of behavior be identified across the borderlands of Eastern, Central, and Southeastern Europe? How do we study these? What makes the Holocaust in these regions specific? The articles in this volume are based on papers presented at the international workshop “The Holocaust in the Borderlands: Interethnic Relations and the Dynamics of Violence in Occupied Eastern Europe,” held in February 2018 at the Center for Holocaust Studies at the Leibniz Institute for Contemporary History (IfZ) in Munich. Dedicated to the Holocaust’s prehistory, unfolding, and repercussions in several specific borderland territories, the contributions offer an unprecedented range of regional, transnational, and multiscalar approaches to the Holocaust in Eastern, Central, and Southeastern Europe. As such, they provide a comparative basis for the study of the Holocaust under alternative occupational regimes, in diverse social milieus, and with populations at the mercy of different logics of destruction. By providing these insights, this volume hopes to further stimulate investigation into the Holocaust in Europe’s occupied multiethnic societies, and probe into the potentials of a borderland approach to the study of the Holocaust. 11 Introduction The Social Dynamics of Violence and the Holocaust In the last two decades, studies of the Holocaust have become increasingly integrated with research on the war, different regimes of occupation, and the history of mass violence in general. This is the result of both a more differentiated understanding and a more comprehensive view of the actors, locations, and processes involved in what we think of as “the Holocaust.” The end of the Cold War and the availability of new sources as well as the growing diversification, internationalization, and interconnectedness of the researchers working on the topic — the range of their backgrounds, linguistic skills, and experiences in different academic settings — have played a key role in this process. However, these developments are also the consequence of an increasingly sophisticated reflection on the terms, categories, perspectives, and frameworks scholars use to write about these events and this period in general. Indeed, the Holocaust has come to be viewed as a series of discrete events and the result of a “convergence of distinct elements.”2 Though Nazi Germany’s impetus and decisive role in the violence is unquestionable, ever more, the focus has been placed on the dynamics of violence in different social, spatial, and temporal constellations, which culminated in the mass murder of European Jews and, more generally, led to the deaths of millions of people, while radically and lastingly transforming European societies and the world beyond. The articles in this volume, and the story they tell as a collection, testify to these developments. They build on, illustrate, and qualify a number of recent historiographical trends that help us rethink the premises of research on the Holocaust with respect to where it happened, how it happened, and what its mechanics and consequences were. In what follows, we briefly outline some of the tendencies which constitute a backdrop against which these articles can be read. After World War II, for various reasons, the Holocaust was for a long time not seen as a distinct event, but rather as a war crime among others and therefore given little attention. The word itself had not yet been coined, and the war was primarily framed as a fight against fascism — at times, even as a battle between good and evil. Though the tone of German scholarship was somewhat different, here too, for the most part, the Holocaust was just one aspect of Nazi policy in the “East” and Nazi 2 Saul Friedländer, Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939–1945: The Years of Extermination (New York: Harper Collins, 2007), xv. 12 Gaëlle Fisher and Caroline Mezger antisemitism, one aspect of the regime’s racist ideology.3 Only from the 1960s onwards did some historians start marking the specificity and distinctiveness of the treatment of the Jews during the war. Raul Hilberg in particular succeeded in shifting the paradigm with respect to the history of Nazism and World War II.4 Drawing on German-language sources, especially the Nuremberg Trials materials, he presented the persecution of the Jews as one of the central objectives of the war, so much so that by the 1980s, as the famous “historians’ controversy” (Historikerstreit) revealed, comparing, let alone conflating, the Holocaust with other crimes had become largely unacceptable.5 The Holocaust thereby came to be understood primarily as the result of a German-led killing machinery, with major repercussions for historians’ hypotheses and priorities. Up until the early 2000s, even as perceptions of the violence’s actors and contexts broadened and diversified as a consequence of the Cold War’s conclusion, most studies of the Holocaust continued to present a singular, often national and Germany-centered perspective. Most of these works dealt with the core regions of German concern, distinct themes like the concentration and death camps, and separate groups of actors like the SS, “German society,” or specific groups of victims (primarily German Jews).6 By virtue of their topics, therefore, these studies continued to frame the Holocaust as a largely German event and Jewish experience. In recent years again, though not for the same reasons as before, the topic has been subject to growing contextualization. Following Saul 3 See e.g.: Martin Broszat, Nationalsozialistische Polenpolitik 1939–1945 (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1961). For a notable exception see: Wolfgang Scheffler, Judenverfolgung im Dritten Reich, 1933–1945 (Berlin: Colloquium Verlag, 1960). 4 Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews (Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1961). 5 See, for instance, the reception of: Andreas Hillgruber, Zweierlei Untergang: Die Zerschlagung des Deutschen Reiches und das Ende des europaischen Judentums (Berlin: Siedler, 1986). 6 This tended to align with quite separate national academic cultures. As Omer Bartov later noted, while most German scholars studied perpetrators, most Israeli or Jewish scholars studied the victims; in general, scholars focused on their own national context. However, this was nevertheless a period of particular expansion of research on (mostly German) perpetrators — so-called Täterforschung — and related international debates. Consider: Omer Bartov, Hitler’s Army: Soldiers, Nazis, and War in the Third Reich (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991); Christopher Browning, Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland (New York: Asher Books, 1992); and the much discussed: Daniel Goldhagen, Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust (New York: Knopf, 1996). 13 Introduction Friedländer’s call for an “integrated history of the Holocaust,” scholars have adopted increasingly diverse, multiscalar, and multi-perspectival approaches.7 The accessibility of new sources from Central and Eastern Europe and the concomitant realization — and willingness to admit — that the Holocaust under German rule could not have taken place without local participation constituted a key incentive for this trend.8 But this turn also reflects a diversification of the factors regarded as decisive for the outbreak of genocidal violence as well as a broader understanding of the causes, dynamics, and effects of the violence. This has been especially significant with respect to research on Eastern Europe, since this area was both, as one recent book’s title reads, “the epicenter of the Final Solution,”9 and where modes of German occupation, and the war in general, were especially brutal.10 These developments have had a number of implications for Holocaust scholars’ concerns. For one, they are placing Holocaust violence ever more decisively into the context of war and occupation.11 By relating more closely policies of extermination to policies of exploitation, starvation, and enslavement, and the different phases of the war, scholars have been led to rethink and redefine the meaning of “policy of occupation” and “policy of extermination” and these notions’ relationship to one another.12 Beyond this, attention has been drawn to the intersections 7 On this approach and for a masterful implementation of it, see the two-volume history: Saul Friedländer, Nazi Germany and the Jews: The Years of Persecution, 1933–1939 (New York: Harper Collins, 1998) and Friedländer, Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939–1945. 8 Most famously, see the debate surrounding: Jan Tomasz Gross, Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001). 9 Waitman Wade Beorn, The Holocaust in Eastern Europe: At the Epicenter of the Final Solution (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2018). 10 On this, see: Omer Bartov, “Eastern Europe as the Site of Genocide,” The Journal of Modern History 80, no. 3 (2008): 557–593. 11 See: Tatjana Tönsmeyer, “Besatzung als europäische Erfahrungs- und Gesellschaftsgeschichte: Der Holocaust im Kontext des Zweiten Weltkrieges,” and Doris L. Bergen, “Holocaust und Besatzungsgeschichte,” in Der Holocaust: Ergebnisse und neue Fragen der Forschung, ed. Frank Bajohr and Andrea Löw (Frankfurt a. M.: Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, 2015), 281–298 and 299–320. See also, most recently: Alex J. Kay and David Stahel, eds., Mass Violence in Occupied Europe (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2018). 12 Consider: Christian Gerlach, Krieg, Ernährung, Völkermord: Forschungen zur deutschen Vernichtungspolitik im Zweiten Weltkrieg (Hamburg: Hamburger Edition, 1998); Ulrich Herbert, ed., Nationalsozialistische Vernichtungspolitik 1939–1945: Neue Forschungen und Kontroversen (Frankfurt a. M.: Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, 2001). Notable regional studies include: Thomas Sandkühler, “Endlösung” in 14 Gaëlle Fisher and Caroline Mezger between the ideological and geopolitical aims of Nazi Germany and its allies, and the sometimes overlapping, sometimes diverging national, ethnic, racial, and colonial (state-building or state-destroying) fantasies and ambitions these partners pursued.13 Focusing on these objectives has led some historians to speak of World War II as a “colonial war” and the Holocaust as a “colonial genocide,” which foresaw not only the killing of Jews, but also a wider reconfiguration of social and international relations. Drawing on the concept of “Nazi Empire,” some scholars have convincingly linked the policies of mass murder to policies of settlement and Germanization, highlighting both the diversity of German and local actors involved in the violence and the scale of German ambitions.14 This increasing contextualization has also led historians to view the mass murder of European Jews in light of other mass crimes committed during the war and the experiences of other victims of systematic persecution, such as Soviet prisoners of war or members of Europe’s Sinti and Roma communities.15 In general, the murder of the European Jews has been set ever more clearly against the Galizien: Der Judenmord in Ostpolen und die Rettungsinitiativen von Berthold Beitz 1941–1944 (Bonn: Dietz Verlag, 1996); Christian Gerlach, Kalkulierte Morde: Die deutsche Wirtschafts- und Vernichtungspolitik in Weissrussland 1941 bis 1944 (Hamburg: Hamburger Edition, 1999); Andrej Angrick, Besatzungspolitik und Massenmord: Die Einsatzgruppe D in der südlichen Sowjetunion 1941–1943 (Hamburg: Hamburger Edition, 2003.); Dieter Pohl, Herrschaft der Wehrmacht (Munich: Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag, 2008); Karel Cornelis Berkhoff, Harvest of Despair: Life and Death in Ukraine under Nazi Rule (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008); Stephan Lehnstaedt, Okkupation im Osten: Besatzeralltag in Warschau und Minsk, 1939–1944 (Munich: Oldenbourg, 2010); Christoph Dieckmann, Deutsche Besatzungspolitik in Litauen 1941–1944, vols. 1–2 (Göttingen: Wallstein, 2011). 13 See e.g.: Alexander Korb, “Genocide in Times of Civil War: Popular Attitudes towards Ustaša Mass Violence, Croatia 1941–1945,” in The Holocaust and European Societies: Social Processes and Social Dynamics, ed. Frank Bajohr and Andrea Löw (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), 127–145. For further specific examples, see the next section of this introduction. For a useful overview of the convergence of other states’ policies with those of Nazi Germany, see: Christian Gerlach, The Extermination of the European Jews (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), especially part III, 311–403. 14 See: Wendy Lower, Nazi Empire-Building and the Holocaust in Ukraine (Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 2005); Mark Mazower, Hitler’s Empire: How the Nazis Ruled Europe (New York: Penguin, 2008). See also: Isabel Heinemann, “Rasse, Siedlung, deutsches Blut”: Das Rasse- und Siedlungshauptamt der SS und die rassenpolitische Neuordnung Europas (Göttingen: Wallstein, 2003). 15 This is an argument powerfully made by Christian Gerlach in: Christian Gerlach, Extremely Violent Societies: Mass Violence in the Twentieth-Century World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 1–14. 15 Introduction background of the suffering and situation of the wider, local populations in occupied Europe.16 Rather than deflecting from Jewish suffering, this has drawn attention to the fact that the societies in which the Holocaust took place were societies under immense pressure.17 The Holocaust thereby increasingly appears, rather than as a standalone event, as “a social process,” inevitably shaped by other social developments and events and, in turn, shaping these too.18 Ultimately, such an approach both opens the way to comparisons with other cases of genocide, mass murder, and intercommunal violence, while simultaneously enabling historians to underscore the specificities of the Holocaust under German rule. This focus on war and occupation has also brought with it a growing sense of the importance of understanding and accounting for the diversity of the Holocaust’s contexts. Indeed, if we think of the Holocaust as a social process, then it becomes essential to reflect on exactly where and when it happened as well as who the actors were: what kind of society are we talking about? How did violence develop and under what structural conditions? How much did different groups of “victims” and “perpetrators” in different locations actually have in common? Recent research on the Holocaust is characterized by a focus on an ever-wider range of specific spatial and temporal settings. Studies of different regions but also of smaller towns and ghettos have multiplied; the examination of rural areas as well as cities is enriching our understanding of diverse social environments and the similarities and differences between them.19 Here too, Eastern Europe has featured prominently, 16 See e.g.: Berkhoff, Harvest of Despair, 59–88. 17 Consider Tatjana Tönsmeyer’s concept of “occupied society” (Besatzungsgesellschaft): Tatjana Tönsmeyer, “Besatzungsgesellschaften. Begriffliche und konzeptionelle Überlegungen zur Erfahrungsgeschichte des Alltags unter deutscher Besatzung im Zweiten Weltkrieg,” Docupedia-Zeitgeschichte, Version: 1.0, 18.12.2015 URL: http:// docupedia.de/zg/toensmeyer_besatzungsgesellschaften_v1_de_2015. 18 See: Frank Bajohr and Andrea Löw, “Introduction,” in The Holocaust and European Societies, 3–14. 19 On ghettos, see e.g.: Markus Roth and Andrea Löw, Das Warschauer Getto: Alltag und Widerstand im Angesicht der Vernichtung (Munich: Beck’sche Reihe, 2013). On smaller towns, see, for instance: Melanie Hembera, Die Shoah im Distrikt Krakau: Jüdisches Leben und deutsche Besatzung in Tarnów 1939–1945 (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2016). For innovative regional studies, see: Kai Struve, Deutsche Herrschaft, ukrainischer Nationalismus, antijüdische Gewalt: Der Sommer 1941 in der Westukraine (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2015); Diana Dumitru, The State, Antisemitism, and Collaboration in the Holocaust: The Borderlands of Romania and the Soviet Union (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2016); Raz Segal, Genocide in the Carpathians War, Social Breakdown, and Mass Violence, 1914–1945 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2016). 16 Gaëlle Fisher and Caroline Mezger due to the delayed onset of research on this topic in the region and the urge to find out more while witnesses are still available.20 One of the consequences of this diversification is somewhat paradoxical. On the one hand, this has made the Holocaust seem like a pan-European phenomenon or even a “European project.”21 On the other hand, it appears like an increasingly fragmented, diverse, and heterogeneous event, with innumerable, seemingly unconnected arenas, and an array of different circumstances and causes. Ultimately, the explanatory approaches required to account for “Auschwitz” at different points in time, the pogrom in the Romanian city of Iaşi, the gassing of women and children from the Sajmište concentration camp in Yugoslavia, or the mass shootings in the occupied Soviet Union are all very different indeed.22 In response, historians have devised a range of frameworks for analyzing violence, which do not necessarily have Nazi Germany as a main reference or starting point. This trend is intimately linked to the development of alternative timeframes and the emphasizing of different factors and patterns of explanation for violence. In recent years, therefore, the Holocaust has been mapped in more diverse ways, not only spatially but also with respect to how far back one looks for causes and which of these are foregrounded. While some have pointed to the importance of existing social, ethnic, and political relations before the war, others have emphasized the violent nature of certain types of rule and occupation and their succession — namely their layered, combined effects.23 The key question here is whether the potential for mass violence was pre-existing, provoked, or imported. Understanding authors’ assumptions in this 20 The Yahad-In Unum interview project, for example, is a case in point: https:// www.yahadinunum.org/, accessed April 3, 2019. 21 Dan Stone, Histories of the Holocaust (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 13–63. 22 As Armin Heinen has shown in the case of Romania, for example, different phases of the Holocaust can only be explained by considering different types of actors, events, and forms of violence. Armin Heinen, Rumänien und die Logik der Gewalt (Munich: Oldenbourg, 2007). 23 Timothy Snyder, for example, with his concept of the “bloodlands,” has famously underlined continuities from Soviet terror to Nazi rule, the destruction of state structures, and the fluidity of the zone of violence throughout the period of the war and the Holocaust. Timothy Snyder, Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin (New York: Basic Books, 2010). Similarly, in his latest book, Omer Bartov offers a long-term perspective on a small Galician town and suggests there is a direct link between the character of social relations before the Holocaust and the violence that ensued. Omer Bartov, Anatomy of a Genocide: The Life and Death of a Town Called Buczacz (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2018). 17 Introduction regard is key to contrasting and explaining the differences between approaches and what kind of arguments these make about European societies and human nature in general. In a way, the traditional debate in the field of German history between “functionalists” and “intentionalists” may have been replaced by a debate between “originalists,” emphasizing the origins of social tensions, and “situationalists,” emphasizing their creation in context. As with the earlier historiographical debate, there is no simple answer. The task left to future researchers is to decide how to negotiate and justify their position between these two poles by carefully weighting different arguments and factors. Unsurprisingly, then, the attention paid to these various contexts has resulted in a growing number of microhistorical studies that attempt to unpick the character of social relationships on the ground and people’s motives for participating in collective violence.24 Considering Eastern Europe — where Jews represented over a third and sometimes up to half of the population of cities and small towns, and where Jews were often murdered in close proximity to their homes — highlights not only the social and political, but also the spatial, bodily, and “everyday” dimensions of violence.25 In general, new political orders need to be related to the new social orders they create (whether as intended or not) by means of categorization and politics of inclusion and exclusion.26 Building on the assumption that violence was not just destructive, but also productive or at least transformative, many historians inspired by sociological approaches have sought to reconstruct the social hierarchies, norms, practices, and relationships that applied during the Holocaust, and which violence shaped and created.27 As some of these scholars have noted, 24 This reflects a wider trend towards writing “thick descriptions” of violent events. See: Randall Collins, Violence: A Micro-Sociological Theory (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008). See also: Felix Schnell, “Gewalt und Gewaltforschung,” Version: 1.0, in Docupedia-Zeitgeschichte, 08.11.2014 URL: http://docupedia.de/zg/ schnell_gewalt_gewaltforschung_v1_de_2014. 25 Stephan Lehnstaedt has for instance spoken of the “everyday character of the violence” (Alltäglichkeit der Gewalt): Stephan Lehnstaedt, “Alltägliche Gewalt. Die deutschen Besatzer in Warschau und die Ermordnung der jüdischen Bevölkerung,” in Besatzung, Kollaboration, Holocaust: Neue Studien zur Verfolgung und Ermordung der europäischen Juden, ed. Johannes Hürter and Jürgen Zarusky (Munich: R. Olde nbourg Verlag, 2008), 81–102. 26 On this see: Gerhard Wolf, Ideologie und Herrschaftsrationalität: Nationalsozialistische Germanisierungspolitik in Polen (Hamburg: Hamburger Edition, 2012). 27 On the productive dimension of violence, see for instance Jörg Baberowski’s concept of “Gewalträume”: Jörg Baberowski and Gabriele Meztler, eds., Gewalträume: Soziale Ordnungen im Ausnahmezustand (Frankfurt a. M.: Fischer, 2012) and further reflections in: Jörg Baberowski, Räume der Gewalt (Frankfurt a. M.: Fischer, 18 Gaëlle Fisher and Caroline Mezger having fashioned new social orders, the redistribution of power also created new social spaces and even constituted a “revolution of values” and a new moral system.28 This was especially true in occupied Eastern Europe, where plundering and killing, for example, were rewarded, while rescuing, in turn, was punished. Micro-level studies have drawn attention to new explanations and incentives for violence such as opportunism, greed, envy, revenge, comradeship, or even personal antagonism. They have also indicated that indifference and inaction, not least due to feelings of powerlessness, were widespread.29 These insights complement existing ideological or structural arguments and explanations in interesting ways by displaying their limitations and, for instance, factoring in social inequalities and vulnerabilities. Such a “bottom-up” approach reformulates older questions: for example, rather than asking how antisemitic a population was, the question may be how antisemitism was made operational; rather than asking how many people were killed, the question may be why some people killed Jews and others did not. It amounts to asking, repeatedly, about specific local contexts and moments, about who had power and what people did with it.30 Finally yet importantly, this leads us to reconsider what the legacies of violence were, how they were confronted, and in which way violence lastingly shaped landscapes and communities as well as attitudes, social practices, and beliefs. 2015). See also: Max Bergholz, Violence as a Generative Force: Identity, Nationalism, and Memory in a Balkan Community (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2016). For a remarkable case study of violence in the context of the Holocaust, see: Michaela Christ, Die Dynamik des Tötens: Die Ermordung der Juden in Berditschew. Ukraine 1941–1944 (Frankfurt a. M.: Fischer Verlag, 2011). The most obvious effect of violence is revenge, but what is interesting in this context is the even more widespread “hardening” of identities after the end of violence. On this, see, for instance: Doris L. Bergen, “Tenuousness and Tenacity: The Volksdeutschen of Eastern Europe, World War II, and the Holocaust,” in The Heimat Abroad: The Boundaries of Germanness, ed. Krista O’Donnell, Renate Bridenthal, and Nancy Reagin (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2005), 267–286. 28 On this and the question of a wider “National Socialist morality,” see: Wolfgang Bialas and Lothar Fritze, eds., Ideologie und Moral im Nationalsozialismus (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2014). 29 Martin Dean, “Local Collaboration in the Holocaust in Eastern Europe,” in The Historiography of the Holocaust, ed. Dan Stone (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), 120–140, here 130. 30 These questions are adapted from: Raz Segal, “Beyond Holocaust Studies: Rethinking the Holocaust in Hungary,” Journal of Genocide Research 16, no. 1 (2014): 1–23, here 15, and Diana Dumitru and Carter Johnson, “Constructing Interethnic Conflict and Cooperation: Why Some People Harmed Jews and Others Helped Them during the Holocaust in Romania,” World Politics 63, no. 1 (2011): 1–42. 19 Introduction Such bottom-up approaches, then, shed light on the ambivalence and messiness of human behavior and the difficulty of categorizing it neatly. At times, the aims of “perpetrators” and “bystanders” may have coincided; a rescuer could become a perpetrator and vice versa; to a certain extent, victims could be proactive too. Inspired by these insights, scholars have begun to question the usefulness of Hilberg’s famous triad of “victim,” “perpetrator,” and “bystander,” for empirical purposes especially.31 Micro-level approaches have underscored the importance and the challenge of historicizing agency and not applying our own assumptions uncritically to understanding past contexts. Indeed, these trends have drawn our attention to the risks of labelling unquestioningly ethnic and actor groups during the Holocaust and falling prey to some form of ethnic or methodological determinism, nationalism, or moralism. In general, recent Holocaust scholarship has moved beyond the classic focus on state-sanctioned violence towards more complex conceptualizations of the mechanics of mass violence. These better account for the social, cultural, situational, and participatory dimensions of violence and the entanglement of its different forms.32 In particular, many scholars have distanced themselves from the terms “genocide,” “ethnic cleansing,” and “mass crimes” as analytical categories, with their well-known political, legal, and definitional restrictions, their emphasis on the act of killing, and their evocation of a “top-down” process. As some scholars have pointed out, while they may enable us to identify mass violence and construct a clear and reassuring distinction between victims and perpetrators, they fall short of explaining it satisfactorily.33 Focusing, instead, on the social dynamics of violence thus not only draws attention 31 On the problematic concept of the neutral “bystander” in particular, consider: Frank Bajohr and Andrea Löw, “Tendenzen und Probleme der neueren Holocaust-Forschung: Eine Einführung,” in Der Holocaust: Ergebnisse und neue Fragen, 10–14. On the limitations of a focus on perpetrators, see: Frank Bajohr, “Neuere Täterforschung,” Version: 1.0, in: Docupedia-Zeitgeschichte, 18.6.2013 URL: http://docupedia.de/zg/Neuere_Taeterforschung?oldid=130224. See also: Gaëlle Fisher, “‘Only doing my duty’: Defining Perpetrators in Relation to State-Sanctioned Violence,” Conference Report, German Historical Institute London Bulletin 37, no. 1 (May 2015), 136–139. 32 Armin Heinen, for example, while highlighting outbreaks of physical violence in wartime Romania, also draws on the concept of “cultures of violence.” Heinen, Rumänien und die Logik der Gewalt, 14. A distinction tends to be made between physical, structural, interpersonal, and symbolic violence. Slavoj Žižek, for example, identifies three types of violence: subjective, objective, and symbolic. See: Slavoj Žižek, Violence: Six Sideways Reflections (New York: Profile Books, 2008). 33 Alex J. Kay and David Stahel, “Introduction,” in Mass Violence in Nazi-Occupied Europe, ed. Alex J. Kay and David Stahel (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University 20 Gaëlle Fisher and Caroline Mezger to a broader scope of behaviors, but also helps us make sense of how violence develops — under what conditions and in what directions — and how social relations change and disintegrate as a result of its effects. It makes it possible to identify multiple causes and agents, focus on the relational character of violence (as a dysfunctional form of communication or interaction), and address the issue of escalation rather than focus exclusively on its extreme and excessive expressions. Indeed, violence is both a spectrum and a phenomenon with its own momentum, and emphasizing its dynamics therefore makes it possible to problematize how mass violence arises and ends — which conditions are propitious to it or spell its demise. With respect to what we think of as “the Holocaust,” the notion of social dynamics of violence thus helps us to reconnect circumstances and events, which appeared to obey separate logics, but were actually intertwined in complex ways. Focusing on these dynamics allows for the coexistence of a range of different and complementary explanations for genocidal violence and a better understanding of its consequences. Indeed, while the performative and situational aspects of violence have attracted considerable attention in recent years, violence itself cannot be the sole justification for violence.34 These new insights need to be better integrated with our understanding of the processes by which violence is infused with meaning and by which it became a socially acceptable option in different settings. In other words, while the Jews were the prime target of persecution in Nazi-occupied Europe, this needs to be placed in the context of interethnic relations in general and environments in which ethnicity became, for a range of reasons, a salient category. Ethnicity, in turn, needs to be viewed in light of other significant identities and categories — especially religious, social, and political ones — and the wider socio-political, economic, and military situation as well as the role and room for maneuver of the various individuals, institutions, and states involved. As ever for historians, it is a matter of achieving a balance between different levels of power and experience, between social structures and personal agency, within the confines of available evidence. Press, 2018), 1–14, here 1. This was also the background for Christian Gerlach’s more comprehensive concept of “extremely violent societies.” 34 Sociologists and social psychologists have contributed a great deal to this trend. Consider: Harald Welzer, Täter: Wie aus ganz normalen Menschen Massenmörder werden (Frankfurt a. M.: Fischer Taschenbuch, 2016), and Stefan Kühl, Ganz normale Organisationen: Zur Soziologie des Holocausts (Berlin: Suhrkamp, 2014). For a critique of this research, see: Bajohr, “Neuere Täterforschung.” 21 Introduction The Holocaust in the Borderlands Questions on the social dynamics of violence become ever more multifaceted as one turns to Europe’s borderlands. Simultaneously the result of very real state boundaries and the product of political imaginaries, borderlands have long intrigued scholars with their perceived liminality. As regions at the edge of geopolitical entities, borderlands concurrently became central areas of encounter, in which the peoples, traditions, and goods of multiple ethnicities, religions, and mother tongues intermingled to create the fabric of everyday life. The simultaneous multiplicity of ethnicities, languages, and faiths for centuries formed individuals’ sense of normalcy, particularly in Europe’s multinational empires. Especially at the edges at which they met, the Prussian, Habsburg, Russian, and Ottoman Empires became the purveyors of societies defined by their diversity. Within these spaces, notions of belonging were multidimensional: any given individual may have spoken several languages, mingled with neighbors of multiple faiths and ethnicities, and subscribed to various political beliefs.35 As numerous historians have shown, the borderlands became “problematic” with the rise of nationalist and, eventually, racist ideologies, which held at their core beliefs that a singular nation, defined by a specific language, ethnicity, and faith, was to be embedded in a particular territory. Already in the late nineteenth century, nationalist activists across Europe’s multiethnic empires targeted the borderlands for their supposedly threatening “in-betweenness.” Nationally ambiguous populations were either to be “awakened” to their national “essence” through concerted education, propaganda, and administrative measures or — as practiced particularly from the early twentieth century onwards — to be “excised” from these socially and geopolitically “malleable” regions as 35 Consider: Omer Bartov and Eric D. Weitz, “Introduction: Coexistence and Violence in the German, Habsburg, Russian, and Ottoman Borderlands,” and Philipp Ther, “Caught In Between: Border Regions in Modern Europe,” in Shatterzone of Empires: Coexistence and Violence in the German, Habsburg, Russian, and Ottoman Borderlands, ed. Omer Bartov and Eric D. Weitz (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2013), 1–8 and 485–489; Kate Brown, A Biography of No Place: From Ethnic Borderland to Soviet Heartland (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004), 1–5, 15; Pieter M. Judson, Guardians of the Nation: Activists on the Language Frontiers of Imperial Austria (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006), 1–5; Tara Zahra, “Imagined Noncommunities: National Indifference as a Category of Analysis,” Slavic Review 69, no. 1 (2010): 93–119; Alexander V. Prusin, The Lands Between: Conflict in the East European Borderlands, 1870–1992 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 2, 10. 22 Gaëlle Fisher and Caroline Mezger potential interferers and traitors.36 Combined with changing political conditions, the redrawing of boundaries, or the forced introduction of discriminative measures, the borderlands’ multiethnic societies soon became sites of intensive violence. Especially after 1918, when empires collapsed and new nation-states were stamped out of their ashes, various nationalist programs materialized that categorized borderland people according to “majority” and “minority” nationalities, each of which received alternate rights and access to social mobility, cultural autonomy, and political participation.37 Following the outbreak of World War II and Nazi Germany’s brutal expansion across Europe’s former imperial borderlands, such social ruptures developed a devastating dynamic: racial policies introduced by the Axis’ occupying forces, joined with local nationalist ideologies, perceived political and wartime expediencies, and desires for economic gain, soon led to the discrimination, dispossession, deportation, and murder of millions.38 At the heart and center of this destruction lay the “Jewish question,” whose “solution” — though not equally fundamental to all local actors’ ambitions — unleashed brutalities that combined to form a pan-European destruction of the Jews.39 In this volume, “borderlands” refers primarily to those multiethnic regions in Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe that lay at the fringes of Europe’s four great empires — the Habsburg, Prussian, Ottoman, and Russian.40 Following these empires’ demise, their borderlands followed 36 Consider, for instance: Bartov and Weitz, “Introduction,” 4–6; Brown, A Biography of No Place, 5–9; Tara Zahra, Kidnapped Souls: National Indifference and the Battle for Children in the Bohemian Lands (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2008), 4–8; Judson, Guardians of the Nation, 2–3, 5–6; Philipp Ther, The Dark Side of Nation-States: Ethnic Cleansing in Modern Europe (New York: Berghahn Books, 2012), 5–9; Matěj Spurný, “Reliability and the Border: The Discourse of the Czech Borderlands, 1945–49,” Österreichische Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft (ÖZP) 42, no. 1 (2013): 83–94. 37 See: Bartov and Weitz, “Introduction,” 9–12; Alexander V. Prusin, Nationalizing a Borderland: War, Ethnicity, and Anti-Jewish Violence in East Galicia, 1914–1920 (Tuscaloosa, AL: The University of Alabama Press, 2005), 114–118; Prusin, The Lands Between, 2–7; Brown, A Biography of No Place, 4–9. 38 For iconic overviews of the National Socialist “Empire,” and its interaction with other regimes, consider: Mazower, Hitler’s Empire; Snyder, Bloodlands. 39 On the centrality of the “Jewish question” to the Third Reich’s imperial ambitions, and its interaction with local conditions in particular territories, see: Lower, Nazi Empire-Building and the Holocaust in Ukraine, 1–12; Wolf Gruner and Jörg Osterloh, eds., The Greater German Reich and the Jews: Nazi Persecution Policies in the Annexed Territories 1935–1945 (New York: Berghahn Books, 2017). 40 In this, the volume largely follows the logic of Omer Bartov and Eric Weitz in Shatterzones of Empire (see, in particular, pages 1–2). As such, it similarly breaks with the logic of Timothy Snyder in Bloodlands, whose geographic scope is more limited, 23 Introduction similar trajectories. Integrated into numerous successor states during the interwar period, their populations became the object of intensive nationalization policies, designed to inculcate ethnically “ambiguous” populations with definitively national identities. Within this process, Jews soon became a distinct and designated “other.” In various instances in Eastern Europe’s borderland societies, national classification came to mingle with antisemitism, and ethno-national concepts of belonging with racial delineations of one’s own “Volk.” Following widespread anti-Jewish policies and pogroms in Eastern Galicia under Russian occupation during World War I, for instance, the Polish nationalist Endeks’ professional and educational “de-Judaization” restrictions of the early 1920s were supplemented, during the late 1920s, by antisemitic propaganda disseminated by the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), who themselves had adopted a program of “removing” Jews and Poles from the “historical” Ukrainian lands.41 In Romania, the state’s increasing obsession with national “purity” and “Romanian blood” — particularly in its newly incorporated borderlands, such as Bessarabia — spurred the vilification, exclusion, and mistreatment of Jews.42 Across Eastern Europe’s “bloodlands” — “from central Poland to western Russia, through Ukraine, Belarus, and the Baltic States” — atrocities committed by the NKVD under Soviet occupation between 1939 and 1941 fanned local permutations of the “Judeo-Bolshevik myth.”43 Ideological programs that had at their core an exclusivist vision of the racially defined nation, though often inspired by Nazi Germany’s direct and indirect influence, only unfurled their full destructive force under Axis occupation. As “Hitler’s empire” stretched ever further eastwards and whose approach pays less attention to political projects, popular agencies, and the social dynamics of violence as developed “from within,” not necessarily as imposed “from without.” 41 Consider: Alexander V. Prusin, “A ‘Zone of Violence’: The Anti-Jewish Pogroms in Eastern Galicia in 1914–1915 and 1941,” in Shatterzone of Empires, 366–367. On the Endeks and Poland’s rise in antisemitism during the interwar period, consider: Grzegorz Krzywiec, “The Balance of Polish Political Antisemitism: Between ‘National Revolution,’ Economic Crisis, and the Transformation of the Polish Public Sphere in the 1930s,” in “Right-Wing Politics and the Rise of Antisemitism in Europe 1935–1941,” ed. Frank Bajohr and Dieter Pohl, European Holocaust Studies 1 (2019): 61–80. A convincing micro-level study of these dynamics is included in: Bartov, Anatomy of a Genocide. 42 Dumitru, The State, Antisemitism, and Collaboration in the Holocaust, 53–92. On Romania’s nationalist ideology and its later repercussions, consider: Vladimir Solonari, Purifying the Nation: Population Exchange and Ethnic Cleansing in Nazi-Allied Romania (Washington, D.C.: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2010). 43 Snyder, Bloodlands, viii, 225–228. See also: Beorn, The Holocaust in Eastern Europe. 24 Gaëlle Fisher and Caroline Mezger during World War II, its forces encountered not just violent resistance and partisan warfare, but numerous agents willing to cooperate with the Third Reich.44 Some of these came in the form of allied states, who used their association with Germany to realize their own fantasies of territorial expansion and national “purification.” Axis-aligned Hungary, for instance, implemented its alliance with Germany to seize territories that it had lost through the 1920 Treaty of Trianon. Between November 1938 and April 1941, Hungary leveraged a series of diplomatic agreements and military interventions to reclaim regions such as Subcarpathian Rus’, northern Transylvania, Bácska, and Baranya. The territories’ Jewish, Roma, and other “non-Hungarian” minorities thereafter became the targets of exclusionary campaigns and acts of violence, designed to solidify Hungary’s grasp over “Greater Hungary’s” purported national destiny.45 Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina, reclaimed by Romania with Germany’s help in July 1941, immediately became the sites of extreme violence, as the Romanian state’s nationalist visions spurred antisemitic assaults and the systematic deportation of the regions’ Jews to Transnistria.46 In the Independent State of Croatia, the Ustasha leveraged their new, German-supported leadership role to murder tens of thousands of Jews, Roma, and Serbs.47 Nazi Germany, however, found support for its genocidal visions not only in its allied states: under Axis occupation, various minorities across Eastern, Central, and Southeastern Europe’s borderlands also became the executors of Hitler’s antisemitic visions. In some cases, minority leaders collaborated quite willingly. In the Western Banat, for instance, the ethnic German leadership organized itself into the pro-Nazi “Volksgruppenführung” and became the Reich-installed administrators of this former 44 Some particularly interesting recent studies of anti-Nazi resistance and partisan warfare include: Bogdan Musial, Sowjetische Partisanen 1941–1944: Mythos und Wirklichkeit (Paderborn: Schöningh, 2009); Jelena Batić, Women and Yugoslav Partisans: A History of World War II Resistance (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2015); Alexander Gogun, Stalin’s Commandos: Ukrainian Partisan Forces on the Eastern Front (London: I.B. Tauris, 2016); Beorn, “The Kaleidoscope of Jewish Resistance,” in The Holocaust in Eastern Europe, 225–246. 45 Consider: Segal, Genocide in the Carpathians, 1–7. On the Holocaust in the Bácska in particular, see: Randolph L. Braham, The Politics of Genocide: The Holocaust in Hungary, condensed edition (Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press/USHMM, 2000), 34–37, 146–147. 46 Dumitru, The State, Antisemitism, and Collaboration in the Holocaust, 139–175; Radu Ioanid, The Holocaust in Romania: The Destruction of Jews and Gypsies Under the Antonescu Regime, 1940–1944 (Chicago, IL: Ivan R. Dee, 2000). 47 Consider: Alexander Korb, Massengewalt der Ustaša gegen Serben, Juden und Roma in Kroatien 1941–1945 (Hamburg: Hamburger Edition, 2013). 25 Introduction Yugoslav borderland territory. In this position, they abetted Germany’s antisemitic policies to such a degree that the Western Banat became one of the first territories in Europe to be declared “free from Jews” in August 1941.48 In other cases, antisemitic violence perhaps had more ambiguous origins. In Poland, for example, German occupation led to very different forms of collaboration. While Polish citizens organized into the so-called “blue” police efficiently denounced, robbed, and killed Jews, other individuals who had originally hid Jews eventually murdered them for fear of brutal reprisals by the German forces and their collaborators.49 Across the occupied borderlands, populations who were not necessarily directly involved in murder nevertheless profited from it. From the Western Banat to occupied Ukraine, ethnic Germans enriched themselves with Jewish property, while the environs of ghettos, concentration camps, and extermination sites became venues for black marketeering, robbery, and plunder.50 Across Europe’s contested borderlands, violence had numerous origins. At times, violence was ideologically motivated, aimed at destroying any designated “others.” Antisemitism interacted with nationalist visions of “racial purity,” and anti-Slavism with stoked fears of partisans, communists, and any number of (generally nationally defined) “fifth columns.” Nazi Germany’s intent on conquering and “Germanizing” great swathes of the European continent met with the nationalist and imperialist ambitions of other Axis-aligned powers, which themselves engaged in programs of ethnic cleansing that targeted Jews, Roma, and other “undesired” minorities.51 Material motivations from the largest to the smallest scale — from the state-coordinated expropriation of Jews to 48 Consider: Mirna Zakić, Ethnic Germans and National Socialism in Yugoslavia in World War II (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017); Caroline Mezger, Forging Germans: Youth, Nation, and the National Socialist Mobilization of Ethnic Germans in Yugoslavia (1918–1944) (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming). 49 See, for instance: Jan Grabowski, Betrayal and Murder in German-Occupied Poland (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2013). 50 On ethnic Germans, consider: Elizabeth Harvey, “Management and Manipulation: Nazi Settlement Planners and Ethnic German Settlers in Occupied Poland,” in Settler Colonialism in the Twentieth Century: Projects, Practices, Legacies, ed. C. Elkins and S. Pedersen (New York: Routledge, 2005), 95–112; Rainer Schulze, “Forgotten Victims or Beneficiaries of Plunder and Genocide? The Mass Resettlement of Ethnic Germans ‘Heim ins Reich’,” Annali dell’Istituto storico italo-germanico in Trento 27 (2001): 533–564. On the latter case, see: Jan Tomasz Gross with Irena Grudzińska Gross, Golden Harvest: Events and the Periphery of the Holocaust (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012). 51 See the examples listed above. 26 Gaëlle Fisher and Caroline Mezger personalized acts of theft — encouraged individuals to, if not directly participate in violence, at least accept its unfolding.52 Conditions of war further placed tremendous strains on societies, while occupational policies redirected social grievances according to new ideological lines.53 On the individual level, motives for engaging in violence were manifold and not always so readily apparent. Ideological convictions played a role, as did instincts of personal enrichment and greed, and perhaps even personal proclivities towards violence or twisted notions of social/national solidarity and “comradeship.”54 Even mobilization into forces like the Waffen-SS did not always engender a personal commitment to violence: especially towards the end of the war, tens of thousands of ethnic Germans had very little choice about whether or not to join the Reich’s forces.55 Regardless of particular origins, however, violence in the borderlands was always personal. The discrimination, deportation, and murder of Jews occurred in front of their families’ and neighbors’ eyes. Even “onlookers” became so deeply implicated in such acts of violence that the very notion of the “bystander,” in the borderlands, requires reconfiguration.56 The borderlands offer a particularly compelling prism for the study of the Holocaust for several reasons. To begin with, they illuminate the Holocaust’s deeply transnational nature. As most historians agree, the Holocaust would never have occurred without Nazi Germany’s genocidal ambitions and brutal wartime expansion.57 However, across Europe, the Holocaust only developed its full devastating dynamic as Nazi ambitions and personnel met with the ideological and material aspirations of other 52 Also consider, in this respect, this volume’s contributions by Svetlana Suveica and Anna Wylegała. 53 Consider: Tönsmeyer, “Besatzungsgesellschaften. Begriffliche und konzeptionelle Überlegungen,” 1–19; Hembera, Die Shoah im Distrikt Krakau, 308–318. 54 Bajohr, “Neuere Täterforschung”; Thomas Kühne, Belonging and Genocide: Hitler’s Community, 1918–1945 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2010). 55 For a European-wide overview of Waffen-SS service by non-German citizens, including questions of compulsion, see: The Waffen-SS: A European History, ed. Jochen Böhler and Robert Gerwarth (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017). 56 On the immediacy of the Holocaust in occupied Eastern Europe in particular, see: Omer Bartov, “Communal Genocide: Personal Accounts of the Destruction of Buczacz, Eastern Galicia, 1941–1944,” in Shatterzone of Empires, 399–409. On the problematics of the “bystander,” see: Christina Morina and Krijn Thijs, “Introduction: Probing the Limits of Categorization,” in Probing the Limits of Categorization: The Bystander in Holocaust History, ed. Christina Morina and Krijn Thijs (London: Berghahn Books, 2018), 1–12. 57 Consider: Frank Bajohr and Andrea Löw, “Beyond the ‘Bystander’: Social Processes and Social Dynamics in European Societies as Context for the Holocaust,” in The Holocaust and European Societies, 3–4. 27 Introduction political and social actors. Imperialist fantasies by states such as fascist Italy, Hungary, and Romania fostered nationalist, even racist movements among populations that subscribed to their particular titular nation, both at home and as minorities abroad.58 Wartime occupation re shuffled social relations according to national ascription and racial “worth,” providing unprecedented opportunities for certain minorities, such as the ethnic Germans, to discriminate, dispossess, and harm racially designated “others” like the Jews.59 Other minorities, terrified of retributions by the Germans and their collaborators, abetted and at times engaged in violence themselves to save their own skin.60 As such, the Holocaust’s perpetrators were highly diverse; its victims, too, came from a variety of homelands, mother tongues, and religious backgrounds.61 As a point of confluence between imperial projects, nationalist movements, and multiethnic communities, the borderlands highlight the multifaceted interactions between societies, ideologies, and conflict in shaping the Holocaust. As sites of occupation and mass violence, the borderlands further enable historians to study the Holocaust in its diverse wartime contexts. Several historians thus have studied Europe’s occupied borderlands to offer new perspectives on the convoluted interactions between Nazi Germany’s imperialist visions and social realities “on the ground.”62 As 58 On Italy, consider: Tommaso Dell’Era, “Italian Imperialism, Albanian Nationalism and the Holocaust During the Occupation Period (1939–1943),” paper presented at the international workshop “The Holocaust in the Boderlands” (Munich, 2018); Simon Levis Sullam, The Italian Executioners: The Genocide of the Jews of Italy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2018). On Hungary, consider: Segal, Genocide in the Carpathians. On Romania, see: Solonari, Purifying the Nation. 59 In relation to the ethnic Germans especially, consider: Mirna Zakić, “The Price of Belonging to the Volk: Volksdeutsche, Land Redistribution and Aryanization in the Serbian Banat, 1941–4,” Journal of Contemporary History 49, no. 2 (2014): 320–340; Eric C. Steinhart, The Holocaust and the Germanization of Ukraine (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 169–174; Catherine Epstein, “Germanization in the Warthegau: Germans, Jews and Poles and the Making of a ‘German’ Gau,” in Heimat, Region, and Empire: Spatial Identities under National Socialism, ed. Claus-Christian Szejnmann and Maiken Umbach (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), 93–111. 60 Consider: Tomasz Frydel, “The Devil in Microhistory: The ‘Hunt for Jews’ as a Social Process, 1942–1945,” in Microhistories of the Holocaust, ed. Claire Zalc and Tal Bruttman (New York: Berghahn Books, 2017), 171–189. 61 Bergen, War & Genocide, ix–x, 1–2. 62 Consider: Doris L. Bergen, “The Nazi Concept of ‘Volksdeutsche’ and the Exacerbation of Anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe, 1939–45,” Journal of Contemporary History 29, no. 4 (1994): 569–582; Gerhard Wolf, “Negotiating Germanness: National Socialist Germanization Policy in the Wartheland,” Journal of Genocide 28 Gaëlle Fisher and Caroline Mezger spaces simultaneously entrenched in alternating conditions of war, occupation, and (at times) civil war, the borderlands further allow for insight into changing social relations in conditions of violence, thereby placing the Holocaust firmly into its wartime context.63 Finally, the Holocaust’s violent immediacy in the borderlands of Eastern, Central, and Southeastern Europe open intriguing avenues for exploring the Holocaust as a “communal genocide,” with its own repercussions for social relations, questions of victimhood and perpetration, and memory politics.64 The borderlands enable historians to see the Holocaust as a transnational phenomenon, embedded both in developments of the longue durée and immediate historical changes, and entrenched in scales of violence that ranged from localized acts of murder to Germany’s very global implementation of the “Final Solution.” However, studies of the borderlands also help undermine established national historiographies of the Holocaust. In relation to German-allied Bulgaria, for instance, recent studies have put into question the country’s traditional self-representation as a “savior” of Jews by scrutinizing its policies in the borderlands. While Bulgaria did postpone the deportation of some 48,000 Bulgarian Jews from its traditional heartland, its record in relation to the territories it occupied offers a darker picture: in Vardar Macedonia, the Pirot region in Yugoslavia, and Western Thrace, over 11,300 Jews under Bulgarian rule were directly deported to National Socialist extermination camps.65 Similarly, research into Hungary’s treatment of the Jews in its annexed borderlands challenge historians’ prevalent interpretations of the Holocaust in Hungary. While studies of the Holocaust in Hungary have largely focused on questions of “collaboration” with Germany after the country’s invasion by the Reich in March 1944 (whereafter the majority of Hungary’s Jews were deported to Auschwitz), a look towards its occupied bor- Research 19, no. 2 (2017): 214–239; Winson Chu, “‘Wir sind keine Deutschen nur dem Volke nach’: Multiethnic Pasts and Ethnic Germans in the German Criminal Police in Lodz during the Second World War,” Zeitschrift für Genozidforschung 16, no. 1 (2018): 35–56. 63 One notable case in which civil war and Holocaust violence coincided occurred in occupied Yugoslavia, as explored by Korb in Massengewalt der Ustaša. On the need to anchor the Holocaust into its wartime context, see: Bergen, War & Genocide, ix. 64 Bartov, “Communal Genocide.” 65 Nadège Ragaru, “Nationalizing the Holocaust: ‘Foreign’ Jews and the Making of Indifference in Macedonia Under Bulgarian Occupation,” in The Holocaust and European Societies, 105–126; Holly Case, “The Combined Legacies of the ‘Jewish Question’ and the ‘Macedonian Question’,” in Bringing the Dark Past to Light: The Reception of the Holocaust in Post-Communist Europe, ed. J.P. Himka and J.B. Michlic (Lincoln, NB: University of Nebraska Press, 2013), 352–370. 29 Introduction derlands complicates the story. For in regions such as Subcarpathian Rus’ and Bácska, Hungarian military forces engaged in mass violence against Jews and other “undesired” minorities well before German military intervention. The Holocaust in Hungary, such studies suggest, was not merely driven by Germany’s genocidal ambitions, but by Hungary’s own visions of an “ethno-national consolidation” of its territories.66 To study the borderlands is to study interactions: interactions between states, nations, ethnicities, and social groups; between alternating conditions of war, violence, and social cleavage; between ideologies, practicalities, and identities; between larger historical circumstances and individual inklings of human agency. As such, they open a number of pertinent questions. What were the specificities of the Holocaust in societies under different forms of Axis occupation, in multiethnic borderlands, or in environments simultaneously engulfed in various shifting conflicts from the personal to the civil, national, or even imperial scales? How might we conceive of the links between personal motivations and experiences of violence “from below,” legacies of national and regional interactions, particularities of local occupations, and Nazi Germany’s very global ambitions of conquest, ethnic cleansing, and the total destruction of the Jews? Why or why not did societies engage in violence, and how did they confront these legacies in the postwar period? What do the borderlands tell us about the Holocaust more broadly? These are just some of the questions that drive the contributions to this volume. They extend our knowledge on the Holocaust in numerous borderlands immensely, while maintaining intriguing avenues for future exploration. The Contributions The articles in this volume shed light on different aspects, regions, and methodological approaches to the study of the dynamics of violence and the Holocaust in several Eastern European borderlands. They draw our attention to various scales of experience and encourage us to pay attention to diverse social identities including age, social class, and gender to study how these different levels and elements matter and intersect. In so doing, they show that the borderlands of Eastern Europe as both a space 66 Consider: Segal, “Beyond Holocaust Studies,” 1–23; Linda Margittai’s contribution to this volume. Also: Ferenc Laczó, “The Radicalization of Hungarian Antisemitism until 1941: On Indigenous Roots and Transnational Embeddedness,” in “Right-Wing Politics and the Rise of Antisemitism in Europe 1935–1941,” ed. Frank Bajohr and Dieter Pohl, European Holocaust Studies 1 (2019): 39–59. 30 Gaëlle Fisher and Caroline Mezger and a concept offer a helpful lens. With this focus, new themes, which can help illuminate the issue of the dynamics of violence during the Holocaust, come to the fore. Many of them are also central to this collection’s contributions. These include the role of youth political mobilization; the significance of religion and tradition as modes of legitimation for violence; the relationships between violence, shortage, hardship, theft, greed, and opportunism; different levels of autonomy and monopoly over power; and the effects of violence on language, social relations, and everyday interactions. In the volume’s first article, titled “The Rise of Antisemitism in the Multiethnic Borderland of Bukovina,” Anca Filipovici explores the character of interethnic relations at the University of Cernăuţi in interwar Romania. She considers different aspects of student life and the role that various individuals and organizations — professors, political leaders, student associations, and political movements — played in shaping students’ experiences, modes of socialization, and attitudes. Filipovici places the rise of antisemitism and the increase in antisemitic incidents at the University of Cernăuţi in the 1920s and 1930s against the backdrop of the region’s specific conditions as a post-imperial and ethnically diverse borderland with a distinct social structure and culture. However, she also emphasizes the wider context of the Romanian state’s policies (especially the drive for centralization and ethnic homogenization) and contemporary socio-economic developments on the national level. As Filipovici argues, the university as an institution underwent significant changes in Romania in this period, and the lethal rise of antisemitism in Bukovina was one of the consequences of this institution’s growing politicization as well as of the more general deterioration of the living standards and prospects of Romanian students in the country as a whole. As Nazi Germany swept across Eastern Europe’s borderlands during World War II, its occupying forces justified their murderous activities in diverse ways, at times mobilizing a highly syncretistic ideological apparatus. In her article “Saving Christianity, Killing Jews,” Doris L. Bergen scrutinizes National Socialism’s ambiguous relationship to Christianity by exploring the Wehrmacht’s widely publicized effort to “rescue” Christianity from Communism during its invasion of the Soviet Union in the summer of 1941. Focusing on southern Ukraine in particular, Bergen shows how Nazi Germany’s murder of hundreds of thousands of Jews and millions of prisoners of war across the “bloodlands” was tied to a “cultural genocide,” whose logic was influenced considerably by Christian tropes of “sacrifice, triumph, and resurrection.” While German forces and their collaborators, including ethnic Germans and Mennonites, murdered, 31 Introduction plundered, and destroyed, Wehrmacht chaplains rededicated churches, previously closed or repurposed by the Soviet authorities, to signal their “salvaging” of Christianity for the local Ukrainians. Religious anti-Judaic motifs were meshed with anti-Bolshevist messages to justify antisemitic violence, while Nazi religious leaders implemented Christian teachings on forgiveness to help “absolve” German perpetrators of their crimes. This intermingling of religious campaign and genocidal destruction, Bergen illustrates, had numerous implications for these borderlands’ societies, which experienced divisions along new ethnic, gendered, and colonial lines. In occupying the borderlands, Nazi Germany relied heavily on allied powers and political movements, as Linda Margittai and Goran Miljan highlight in their contributions. Focusing on the Hungarian-occupied Vojvodina in her article “Hungarians, Germans, and Serbs in Wartime Vojvodina,” Linda Margittai explores the multifaceted experiences of diverse ethnic groups under Hungarian wartime administration. Analyzing the region of Bácska in particular, Margittai shows how Hungary’s shifting “ethno-nationalistic state-building efforts” in the territory quickly led to violent expropriations, forced resettlements, and even acts of murder against non-Hungarian and non-German individuals. In line with Hungary’s antisemitic policies, the Jews especially became targets of cruelty. Empowered by their newly elevated social status, ethnic Hungarians robbed, blackmailed, and denounced their former Jewish neighbors. The local ethnic Germans, particularly the more radicalized youth, similarly engaged in antisemitic acts, enriching themselves in the process. Conversely, the Serbian minority — as targets of discrimination themselves — rarely engaged in anti-Jewish violence. Further presenting diverse cases of aid and rescue, Margittai demonstrates how individuals’ position in the Hungarian-imposed ethnic hierarchy influenced “bystanding” behaviors: granted more power and autonomy, ethnic Hungarians and Germans ironically had the most agency not only in harming Jews, but in coming to their rescue. In his article “The Ustasha Youth and the Aryanization of Jewish Property in the Independent State of Croatia, 1941–1945,” Goran Miljan explores the Ustasha Youth organization’s involvement in the expropriation of Jews in the Independent State of Croatia. Illustrating how the Ustasha’s ideology combined Nazi German and local specificities, Miljan shows how the Ustasha began implementing antisemitic, anti-Roma, and anti-Serbian measures as soon as they came to power in April 1941. Key to the Ustasha’s intended “regeneration” of the Croatian nation, he notes, were not merely the “removal” of “foreigners” and “‘destructive’ national 32 Gaëlle Fisher and Caroline Mezger elements,” but the systematic reforging of Croatian youth into the ideal “new Croat.” Organized into the Ustasha Youth, these young Croats became the direct beneficiaries of genocide. For as the Ustasha regime “Aryanized” Jewish properties, Ustasha Youth groups received Jewish buildings, personal belongings, and household items to help further their fascist education. With the article “Local Agency and the Appropriation of Jewish Property in Romania’s Eastern Borderland,” Svetlana Suveica explores the human and bureaucratic mechanisms of the expropriation, appropriation, and theft of Jewish property during the Holocaust. Focusing on the contested Romanian region of Bessarabia under the Antonescu regime (1941–1944) and on the role of local public institutions and their employees in particular, Suveica scrutinizes the behavior of these low-level political actors, when violence against Jews became “justifiable and legitimate” and their extermination “a task.” As such, this article examines how the policy of “Romanianization” (Romanian “Aryanization”) was implemented on the ground. Suveica highlights the chaos, confusion, and tensions caused by this policy in an area where many Jews had been craftspeople and traders, and illustrates the general lack of coordination between the regional authorities and the central leadership in Bucharest. Suveica thereby also emphasizes local actors’ exploitation of the situation and degree of agency in the process. Though this set of legislation aimed to accomplish a transfer of Jewish property and goods to “reliable Romanian elements,” it was subject to considerable interpretation and abuse by public officials on the local level, who sought to enrich themselves personally and secure the most desirable goods and properties. The issue of property is also central to Anna Wylegała’s article, entitled “Listening to the Different Voices.” Drawing on a large and diverse body of Jewish, Polish, and Ukrainian retrospective accounts, Wylegała explores the dynamics of war, occupation, profiteering, plunder, betrayal, physical violence, murder, and genocide amongst the civilian population and in local communities of western Ukraine (Eastern Galicia). Through the prism of property, something that was important to Jews and non- Jews alike, this article highlights the both intrinsically interpersonal and highly intimate character of Holocaust violence in the region, while providing close insight into different individuals’ and groups’ experiences, beliefs, attitudes, and memories. By comparing Jewish and non-Jewish accounts of the same events, Wylegała draws attention to the gap between them and the range of narrative strategies deployed by non-Jews to escape or shift the blame. While Wylegała juxtaposes different perspectives on theft, expropriation, and violence, she also reflects on how to 33 Introduction reconcile sources produced with such different intentions and suggests that this may in fact be the key to offering a truly integrated and richer narrative of the Holocaust. The Holocaust’s devastation transformed societies and cultures in numerous lasting ways that have remained understudied. In her article “‘Gornisht oyser verter’?!,” Miriam Schulz takes an interdisciplinary approach and explores wartime changes to the Yiddish language as a mirror of interethnic relations and violence in German-occupied Eastern Europe. Advocating for more concerted attention to the impact of National Socialism on victims’ language(s), Schulz analyzes some of those lexical and idiomatic expressions, newcomers, and modifications that “refashioned prewar Yiddish into … khurbn-shprakh (destruction language).” Implementing both wartime sources and postwar lexicographical works, Schulz ties the emergence of new words and meanings to the violent reality faced by Jews in the German-occupied territories. As she argues, khurbn-shprakh combined in “vocabularies and syntax the perspective of both victims and perpetrators,” making the language itself a form of “integrated history” that reflects the changing social relations of Europe’s borderlands during the Holocaust. This volume also includes a piece by Sanela Schmid, one of the editors of the fourteenth volume of the sixteen-volume source edition Die Verfolgung und Ermordung der europäischen Juden 1933–1945 (VEJ), dealing with Southeastern Europe and Italy, who has selected and commented a primary source.67 Finally, we have published descriptions of ongoing individual and collaborative research projects relating to the topic of this issue as well as an update on the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure European Holocaust Research (EHRI) Project. 67 An English-language version, The Persecution and Murder of the European Jews by Nazi Germany, 1933–1945 (PJM), is currently in preparation.

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Zusammenfassung

Violence against Jews, Roma, and other persecuted minorities in the multiethnic borderlands of Eastern, Central, and Southeastern Europe. Includes: Anca Filipovici: The Rise of Antisemitism in the Multiethnic Borderland of Bukovina: Student Movements and Interethnic Clashes at the University of Cernăuți (1922-1938) Doris Bergen: Saving Christianity, Killing Jews: German Religious Campaigns and the Holocaust in the Borderlands Linda Margittai: Hungarians, Germans, Serbs, and Jews in Wartime Vojvodina: Patterns of Attitudes and Behaviors towards Jews in a Multiethnic Border Region of Hungary Goran Miljan: The »Ideal Nation-State« for the »Ideal New Croat«: The Ustasha Youth and the Aryanization of Jewish Property in the Independent State of Croatia, 1941-1945 Svetlana Suveica: Appropriation of Jewish Property in the Borderlands: Local Public Employees in Bessarabia during the Romanian Holocaust Anna Wylegała: Listening to Contradictory Voices: Jewish, Polish, and Ukrainian Narratives on Jewish Property in Nazi-Occupied Eastern Galicia Miriam Schulz: Gornisht oyser verter?!: The Yiddish Language as a Mirror of Interethnic Relations and Dynamics of Violence in German-Occupied Eastern Europe