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An unprecedented firsthand analysis of real daily life in the Third Reich, drawing on new interviews and surveys from both Germans and Jews who lived through the Nazi era. } What We Knew offers the most startling oral history ever done of life in the Third Reich. Combining the expertise of a German sociologist and an American historian, it draws on both gripping oral histories and a unique survey of 4,000 people-both German Jews and non-Jewish Germans-who lived under the Third Reich. It directly addresses some of the most fundamental questions we have about the Nazi regime, particularly regarding anti-Semitism, issues of guilt and ignorance, popular support for the government, and the nature of the dictatorship itself.Johnson and Reuband's original research confirms that both Germans and Jews were aware of the mass murder of European Jews as it was occurring. From the responses of Jewish survivors, German anti-Semitism wasn't universal among their neighbors and colleagues, even as they experienced official mistreatment.Additionally, the authors' research suggests that Hitler and National Socialism were genuinely popular among ordinary Germans, and that intimidation and terror played no great part in enforcing loyalty. Refuting long-held assumptions, the discoveries revealed in What We Knew are key to our understanding of life in the Third Reich, and make this book a central work for scholars of the Holocaust, World War II, and totalitarianism.
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