The "In spite of them" in the German army

The

  • Brief aus der Heimat [Letter from the country].

    ANONYMOUS

  • Brief aus der Heimat [Letter from the country].

    ANONYMOUS

To close

Title: Brief aus der Heimat [Letter from the country].

Author : ANONYMOUS (-)

Creation date : 1944

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: Printing (news and propaganda press)

Storage place: Moselle departmental archives website

Contact copyright: © General Council of Moselle, Departmental Archives

Picture reference: 2 W 1236

Brief aus der Heimat [Letter from the country].

© General Council of Moselle, Departmental Archives

To close

Title: Brief aus der Heimat [Letter from the country].

Author : ANONYMOUS (-)

Creation date : 1944

Date shown: 1944

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: Printing (information and propaganda press)

Storage place: Moselle departmental archives website

Contact copyright: © General Council of Moselle, Departmental Archives

Picture reference: 2 W 1236

Brief aus der Heimat [Letter from the country].

© General Council of Moselle, Departmental Archives

Publication date: November 2013

Historical context

Since the signing of the armistice on June 22, 1940, defeated France has been partly occupied, but the Occupation regime varies from one territory to another. In July 1940, Germany re-established the 1871 border and separated Alsace and Moselle from the rest of France: this is known as "de facto annexation". A legal sleight of hand - naturalization in extremis of the majority of the inhabitants of the former French departments of Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin and Moselle - makes it possible to give this measure a legal aspect, whereas international law and the German conscription law of 1935 are opposed. Josef Bürckel (1895-1944), the Gauleiter of the Westmark, thus supervised the census and then the incorporation of around 30,000 young people from Lorraine from Moselle, born between 1914 and 1927.

Image Analysis

Brief aus der Heimat ("Letter from the country") is a Nazi propaganda periodical published by the (Kreisleitung) of an administrative district. This copy comes from that of Sarreguemines (Saargemund). It is addressed to "our soldiers" and to the men called to the service of labor (R.A.D.-Männer) sectors of Bitche, Sarreguemines and Sarralbe, three township capitals symbolized by their stylized coats of arms. The Reich Labor Service (Reichsarbeitsdienst or R.A.D.) concerned young people from seventeen to twenty-five years old, boys and girls, and, for boys, served as military preparation (six then three months). It had been established in Moselle in April 1941. Published in March 1944, the document presented here serves as a mortuary notice. The two pages answer each other: on the left, a list of the men killed in action, on the right a photograph, the name and rank of some of them. At the bottom left are also the names of some civilians who died in an air attack.

Interpretation

At the beginning of 1944, Germany made no secret of the heavy losses inflicted on it by the enemy. The German populations, to which the inhabitants of the Moselle are henceforth assimilated, are informed of these losses in a sense that we want to be heroic: the young people of the localities mentioned in the list, whose portrait, in uniform or in civilian clothes, accompanies the mortuary notice, "gave their lives for Greater Germany", which is only true for the volunteers (because there were some). It should be noted that some young people have non-Germanized Roman names (Leroy, Lejeune). In the German classical tradition, poets are called upon to support the process of national integration: on the title page there is a text by Hermann Claudius (1878-1980), a man of letters engaged in the Nazi era (" You have to believe in Germany, otherwise you live only for death, and you have to fight with Germany until dawn ”), while the mortuary notice features a quote from Walter Flex (1887-1917 , died of wounds received on the front) to the glory of Germany, called to live on the tombs of her soldiers such as "the sacred grove of heroes". Yet the Alsatian and Moselle members of the force, the "In spite of us", did not choose to die for Nazi Germany. Seven thousand Lorraine people from Moselle perished on the front between 1943 and 1945, then in Soviet camps after May 8, 1945.

  • Alsace Lorraine
  • Germany
  • army
  • War of 39-45
  • Occupation
  • hurry
  • propaganda
  • annexation

Bibliography

Collective, Despite themselves in the German army. The forcible incorporation of the Moselle people 1942-1945, Lyon-Metz, Libel-General Council of Moselle, 2012.

· Jean-Luc EICHENLAUB and Jean-Noël GRANDHOMME (dir.), August 1942, the forcible incorporation of Alsatians and Mosellans into the German armies. Amam Meeting Proceedings (October 15-17, 2002), Colmar, Haut-Rhin departmental archives, 2003.

Jean-Noël GRANDHOMME, The Despite of the Kriegsmarine. Fates of Alsace and Lorraine in the war navy of the Third Reich, Strasbourg, The Blue Cloud, 2011.

Laurent KLEINHENTZ, Despite us who are you? Stories of Incorporated Moselle forces, Farébersviller-Faulquemont, with the author, 3 vol., 1996-1999.

Georges-Gilbert NONNENMACHER, The Great Shame: the forcible incorporation of the Alsatians-Lorrainers, Eupenois-Malmedians and Luxembourgers into the German army during the Second World War, Colmar, Association of escapees and forcibly incorporated, Haut-Rhin group, 1965.

Eugène RIEDWEG, The Despite us. History of the forcible incorporation of the Alsatians-Moselle in the German army, Mulhouse, Éditions du Rhin, 1995.

Philippe WILMOUTH, Parallel memories. Moselle-Alsace from 1940 to the present day: the annexation of 1940-1945, the Despite-us, the Bordeaux trial, Ars-sur-Moselle, Serge Domini, 2012.

To cite this article

Jean-Eric IUNG, "The" In spite of them "in the German army"


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