The edition focuses of Societies under German Occupation, in particular, on four main topic areas: ‘Supply and Shortage’, ‘Rule and Its Institutions’, ‘Labour and Exploitation’ and ‘Violence and Persecution’. Together, these thematic areas illuminate central experiences which were integral to everyday life under the conditions of occupation.
Key aspects include, for example, how disruptions to supply resulted in severe shortages of food – often leading to hunger and starvation – and scarcity of other commodities e.g. clothing, fuel and hygiene products, and the ways in which populations experienced particular forms of rule and authority in dealing with local institutions which served as intermediaries between occupiers and the occupied. Experiences of work and employment conditions which were increasingly obligatory, regimented and exploitative in nature, through to actual forced labour and demands on agricultural workers, as well as practices of dissent are also elucidated in the sources. Finally, the edition will demonstrate how many everyday contexts were accompanied and often defined by experiences of existential or humiliating and degrading acts of aggression, as well as the exposure to and witnessing of mass violence, killings, and deportations.
The pilot study focuses on the first major topic area of ‘Supply and Shortage’ and lays the groundwork for the further designated topics. Guidelines for the identification, gathering and selection of sources, as well as for the transcription, annotation and translation of the selected documents, have also been developed and tested during the pilot study.