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Nazism and the Jim Crow South

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Introduction

Below you can find a list of works that explore race and society in Nazi Germany and the Jim Crow South. Additionally, there are works that focus on one context specifically, but may be helpful in providing background information or contextualizing other regional studies. This bibliography is not exhaustive, and is meant to be a starting point for students, researchers, and educators who are interested in learning more on the topic. Please note that works included on this list represent the views and opinions of their respective authors and their inclusion on this list does not reflect an endorsement by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Nazi Germany and Jim Crow South

  • Afro-Germans during the Holocaust.” In Holocaust Encyclopedia, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
     

  • Edgcomb, Gabrielle. From Swastika to Jim Crow: Refugee Scholars at Black Colleges. Malabar, Florida: Krieger Publishing Co., 1993. (LC2781 .E34 1993)  [Find in a library near you (external link)]

    Examines the stories of German and Austrian scholars dismissed from their positions at universities as a result of racist Nazi policies, specifically, those who left Europe and took positions at Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the United States. This work aims to provide a new perspective on race relations. Includes an index and bibliography.

  • From Swastika to Jim Crow, directed by Lori Cheatle and Martin D. Toub (New York: Pacific Street Films, 2000). (DVD-1368)  [Find in a library near you (external link)]

    Explains how Jewish scholars who escaped Nazi Germany and immigrated to the US before and during World War II were confronted with anti-Semitism at major universities and a public distrust of foreigners.

  •  Grill, Johnpeter Horst and Robert L. Jenkins. “The Nazis and the American South in the 1930s: A Mirror Image?” in The Journal of Southern History 58, no. 4 (November 1992): 667-694. [Read on JSTOR (external link)]

    Investigates the similarities between the American South in the 1920s and 30s and Nazi Germany.

  • Kühl, Stefan. The Nazi Connection: Eugenics, American Racism, and German National Socialism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994. (HQ755.5.U5 K84 2002) [Find in a library near you (external link)

    Explores the ties between the American eugenics movement and Nazi racial hygiene laws, and proves that though they generally disapproved of Hitelr’s totalitarian government, numerous American scientists actively supported Hitler’s racial policies. Includes notes, bibliography, and index.

  • Luckert, Steven. “How Nazi Germany Weaponized the Race Card against the US Army: Propaganda Efforts Sought to Exploit Racial Tensions.” Medium.com. February 13, 2017

    Exposes how Nazi Germany exploited racial tensions among US forces to encourage desertion in the closing days of World War II.

  • Mitchell, Beverly. Plantations and Death Camps. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2009. (BT702 .M58 2009) [Find in a library near you (external link)

    Examines the plights of both enslaved African Americans and Jews during the Holocaust to find commonality in the underlying religious and ideological justifications for their oppression as well as the theological features of each. Additionally, the author finds a striking common thread of asserting dignity in the face of oppression and finds important “lessons regarding what it means to be human in a world in which discrimination, alienation, and maltreatment between human beings are daily companions.”
     
  • The Nazi Olympics Berlin 1936: African American Voices and ‘Jim Crow’ America.” In Holocaust Encyclopedia. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.    

    Explores how the decision of whether to boycott the 1936 Olympic Games weighed heavily on African American athletes in the US.
     
  • Powell, Lawrence. Troubled Memory: Anne Levy, the Holocaust, and David Duke’s Louisiana. North Carolina: UNC Press, 2002. (DS135.P63 L3996 2000) [Find in a library near you (external link)]

    Explores the life of Anne Skorecki Levy, a Holocaust survivor who later worked passionately to defeat neo-Nazi and KKK leader, David Duke. This work examines how childhood horrors can spark and inform later work.
     
  • Puckett, Dan J. “Reporting on the Holocaust: The View from Jim Crow Alabama,” in Holocaust and Genocide Studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press,  219-251. [Read on Project MUSE (external link)]

    Explores how Alabama's black-run press used the news of the mass killings of the Jews to warn against the dangers of conceptions of racial superiority—a primary concern for black southerners living in the Jim Crow South.
     
  • Racial Policies in Nazi Germany and the United States in the 1930s.” In Holocaust Encyclopedia. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

    Explores the similarities and differences of racist and antisemitic policies in Nazi Germany and Jim Crow America.
     
  • Responses to Racism in Nazi Germany and Jim Crow America.” In Holocaust Encyclopedia. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

    Explores the ways that Americans and Germans of various backgrounds responded to what they saw as similarities and differences in the racial policies in each other’s countries during the 1930s.
     
  • Whitman, James. Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2017. (KK4743 .W55 2017)  [Find in a library near you (external link)]

    Chronicles the the history of Nazi efforts to mine American race law for inspiration during the drafting of the Nuremberg Laws. Additionally, it asks what this can tell us about Nazi Germany, the modern history of racism, and about America. The author claims that counter to popular belief, there are clear ways in which American race laws served as a model for Nazi race legislation. Includes notes and an index.

Experience of Afro-Germans

  • Lester, Rosemarie K. “Blacks in Germany and German Blacks: A Little-Known Aspect of Black History.” In Blacks and German Culture: Essays, edited by Reinhold Grimm and Jost Hermand, 113-134. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1986. (NX550.A1 B53 1986) [Find in a library near you (external link)]

    A brief look at the presence and activities of homosexual men in the anti-Nazi resistance movement. Focuses particularly on Stefan George and Claus von Stauffenberg, but also includes the stories of Albrecht von Bernstorff, Willem Arondaus, Sjoerd Bakker, Jean Desbordes, Robert Desnos, and Denis Rake.

  • Mazón, Patricia M., and Reinhild Steingröver, editors. Not So Plain as Black and White: Afro-German Culture and History, 1890-2000. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2005. (DD78.B55 N68 2005) [Find in a library near you (external link)]

    Addresses questions regarding how images of Afro-Germans have changed over time and the ways in which Afro-Germans have sought to define themselves. Through these questions, it explores the tensions between individual identity and attempts to build community in what has historically been a fragmented group. Includes bibliography and index.

    For more works and resources on the experiences of individuals of African descent living in Germany, see the additional bibliography here.

Nazi Germany Overview

  • Bergen, Doris L. War and Genocide: A Concise History of the Holocaust. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2009. (DD256.5 .B3916 2016) [Find in a library near you (external link)]

    Provides readers with vivid accounts of the persecution suffered by a wide range of minority groups during the Holocaust. Through this exploration, Bergen explores the two main interconnected goals that drove the Nazi program of conquest and genocide - purification of the “Aryan race” and expansion of its living space - and discusses how these goals affected the course of World War II. Includes bibliography and index.

  • Engel, David. The Holocaust: The Third Reich and the Jews. New York: Routledge, 2013. (D804.3 .E539 2000) [Find in a library near you (external link)]

    Seeks to clarify the basic facts and explore the possible reasons why 5.8 million Jews died during the course of the Holocaust. Treating the Holocaust as a murder investigation, Engel asks why it was a  German government that perpetrated mass muder, what led the government to the conclusion that all Jews had to die, and whether it could have been reduced or prevented all together. Includes bibliography and index.

  • Hayes, Peter. Why? Explaining the Holocaust. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2017. (D804.3 .H387 2017) [Find in a library near you (external link)]

    Explain the origins of the Holocaust by asking and attempting to answer a series of questions, such as: Why the Jews and not another ethnic group? Why the Germans? Why such a swift and sweeping extermination? Why didn’t more jews fight back more often? and Why didn’t they receive more help? He argues that no single theory can adequately explain the Holocaust, and that it was in fact caused by the convergence of multiple forces at a particular moment. Includes notes, index, and bibliography.

Science, Race, and Society

  • Bernstein, Arnie. Swastika Nation: Fritz Kuhn and the Rise and Fall of the German-American Bund. (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2013). (E184.G3 B353 2013) [Find in a library near you (external link)]

    This book examines short-lived efforts to create a fascist government akin to the Third Reich in the United States in the early 1930s and the process by which it was dismantled. Includes notes, bibliography, and index.

  • Bruinius, Harry. Better for All the World: The Secret History of Forced Sterilization and America’s Quest for Racial Purity. (New York: Alfred A Knopf, 2006). (HQ755.5.U5 B78 2006) [Find in a library near you (external link)]

    This book explores the history of the eugenics movement in America that began in the early twentieth century through the story of Emma and Carrie Buck. Examining both the effects of the American eugenics movement on Nazi race laws and the effects within the United States. Includes notes and index.

  • Burleigh, Michael and Wolfgang Wippermann. The Racial State: Germany 1933-1945. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1991. (DD256.5 B93 1991) [Find in a library near you (external link)]

    This book examines the origins of Nazi racial ideology and explores the way that these origins translated into official policy. Includes notes and index.

  • Cohen, Adam. Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics, and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck. (New York: Penguin Press, 2016). (KF224.B83 C64 2016)  [Find in a library near you (external link)]

    This book examines the 1927 case of Buck v. Bell, which upheld Virginia’s inhumane forced sterilization laws and allowed approximately 60,000 Americans to undergo forced sterilization before the madness ended. Includes notes and index.

  • Fredrickson, George M. “The Rise of Modern Racism(s): White Supremacy and Antisemitism in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries.” In Racism: A Short History. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015, 49-96. (HT1507 .F74 2002) [Find in a library near you (external link)]

    Traces the history of prejudice against Black people and Jews from its beginnings in the Middle Ages to its manifestations during the Holocaust era and beyond, both in Europe and in the US.

  • Friedlander, Henry. The Origins of Nazi Genocide: From Euthanasia to the Final Solution. North Carolina: The University of North Carolina Press, 1997. (DD256.5 .F739 1995)  [Find in a library near you (external link)]

    Explores how the Nazi program of secretly exterminating the handicapped and disabled evolved into the systematic destruction of Jews and Gypsies. He describes how the so-called euthanasia of the handicapped provided a practical model for the later mass murder, thereby initiating the Holocaust.

  • Hart, Bradley W. Hitler’s American Friends: The Third Reich’s Supporters in the United States. (New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2018). (E806.H35 H37 2018) [Find in a library near you (external link)]

    Exposes the homegrown antagonists who sought to protect and promote Hitler, leave Europeans (and especially European Jews) to fend for themselves, and elevate the Nazi regime. Hitler's American Friends is a powerful look at how the forces of evil manipulate ordinary people and how we stepped back from the ledge.

  • Kühl, Stefan. “The Cooperation of German Racial Hygienists and American Eugenicists before and after 1933.” In The Holocaust and History: The Known, the Unknown, the Disputed, and the Reexamined, edited by Michael Berenbaum and Abraham J. Peck. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2002, 134-152. (D804.18 .H66 2002) [Find in a library near you (external link)]

    Discusses the interrelation of the American eugenics movement and Nazi racial science, and how the rise and fall of one influenced the fate of the other.

  • Okrent, Daniel. The Guarded Gate: Bigotry, Eugenics, and the Law that Kept Two Generations of Jews, Italians, and Other European Immigrants Out of America. (New York: Scribner, 2019) (KF3832 .O37 2019) [Find in a library near you (external link)]

    Okrent chronicles the period from 1895, when a group of Bostonians, led by Henry Cabot Lodge, initiated an anti-immigration campaign, through the following four decades when the U.S. restricted the entry of Jews and people from eastern and southern Europe on the grounds that they were inferior. Tailoring immigration policy to “biological laws,” President Coolidge promoted eugenics as national policy, and U.S. law kept hundreds of thousands of people out of the country.

  • Roth, John K.  “Genocide and the ‘Logic’ of Racism,” in Genocide and Human Rights: A Philosophical Guide, edited by John K. Roth. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005: 255-264. (HV6322.7 .G453 2005)  [Find in a library near you (external link)]

    Reflects on the self-contradictory and illogical nature of racism, and how perceived racial difference has nonetheless become the driving force behind the Holocaust and other genocides.

Bystanders & Questions of Complicity

  • Barnett, Victoria J. Bystanders: Conscience and Complicity during the Holocaust.  Westport, Connecticut: Praeger Publishers, 2000. (D804.3 .B356 1999) [Find in a library near you (external link)]

    Examines the factors that fostered passivity and complacency in Nazi Germany and the wider world during the Holocaust. The author argues that bystander behavior cannot be attributed to a single cause, such as anti-Semitism, but can only be understood within a complex framework of factors that shape human behavior individually, socially, and politically.

  • Browning, Christopher R. Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland. New York: Harper Perennial, 2017). (DS135.P6 .B77 2017) [Find in a library near you (external link)]

    Tells the true story of Reserve Police Battalion 101 of the German Order Police, which was responsible for mass shootings as well as round-ups of Jewish people for deportation to Nazi death camps in Poland in 1942.

  • Ehrenreich, Robert M. and Tim Cole. “The Perpetrator-Bystander-Victim Constellation: Rethinking Genocidal Relationships.” In Human Organization, Vol. 64, No. 3 (Fall 2005): 213-224. [Read on JSTOR (external link)]

    Explores the complex interrelationships within and among perpetrators, victims, and bystanders of genocides through an analysis of Budapest in June 1944.

  • Ericksen, Robert P. Complicity in the Holocaust: Churches and Universities in Nazi Germany. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012). (BR856 .E736 2012) [Find in a library near you (external link)]

    Explains how an advanced, highly-educated, Christian nation could commit the crimes of the Holocaust. This book describes how Germany's intellectual and spiritual leaders enthusiastically partnered with Hitler's regime, thus becoming active participants in the persecution of Jews, and ultimately, in the Holocaust. Ericksen also examines Germany's deeply flawed yet successful postwar policy of denazification in these institutions. He argues that enthusiasm for Hitler within churches and universities effectively gave Germans permission to participate in the Nazi regime.

  • Lower, Wendy. Hitler’s Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013. (D810.W7 L69 2013)  [Find in a library near you (external link)]

    Provides an account of the role of German women on the World War II Nazi eastern front powerfully revises history, proving that we have ignored the reality of women’s participation in the Holocaust, including as brutal killers. The long-held picture of German women holding down the home front during the war, as loyal wives and cheerleaders for the Führer, pales in comparison to Lower’s incisive case for the massive complicity, and worse, of the 500,000 young German women she places, for the first time, directly in the killing fields of the expanding Reich.

Jewish & African American Relations in the American Civil Rights Movement

Pedagogy

  • Rosengarten, Ted. “Why Does the Way of the Wicked Prosper?”: Teaching the Holocaust in the Land of Jim Crow” in As the Witnesses Fall Silent: 21st Century Holocaust Education in Curriculum, Policy, and Practice, edited by Zehavit Gross and E. Doyle Stevick. Cham: Springer International Publishing Switzerland, 2015, 25-51. (D804.33 .A88 2015)  [Find in a library near you (external link)]

    Explores the author’s experience teaching the Holocaust to college students in Charleston, SC.
  • Schweber, Simone and Debbie Findling. Teaching the Holocaust. Los Angeles: Torah Aura Productions, 2007. (D804.33 .T43 2000)  [Find in a library near you (external link)]

    Offers a comprehensive treatment of Holocaust education, blending introductory material, broad perspectives and practical teaching case studies. It shows how and why pupils should learn about the Holocaust.

See all Bibliographies