Monday, June 06, 2005

I Learn Something New

I've often wonder what role the towns I live and work in had in Nazi Germany. That's not exactly the kind of info that anyone around here makes easy to find. But now Google has come up with a new feature, Google Print, where you can search for terms within books and then see the pages those terms appear on right there on your computer screen.

Facinating if you ask me.

So I searched for Baumholder, the town I teach in, and found that before WWII broke out, the Nazi's built their largest training area there, which was an apparent boon to a very poor part of Germany. Wasn't good for everyone, though. As Gis and Frauleins: The German-American Encounter in 1950s West Germany puts it:
"The twenty-seven Jews who called Baumholder their home suffered much humiliation, as few in the community stood up for their fellow citizens. Except for two individuals, all of Baumholder's Jews left their homes and businesses in the years before 1938. While some of them were fortunate enough to to escape to the United States, the eleven who merely moved to larger cities in the Reich were all killed in Nazi extermination camps."
Further reading in the book reveals that several prominent members of the Baumholder community were hardcore Nazis, including the school principal and the Protestant minister.

Maybe I didn't want to know this stuff.

The book did have an interesting photo taken from the outskirts of Baumholder in 1952 when the Americans had taken over and were rebuilding the place to house the thousands of troops who are still there. Shows the vast difference between the peasants of the countryside and the "modern" city the Baumholder was becoming:

Those were the days.


At 7:51 PM, Blogger nebel said...

It's weird that I have never heard or read a single mentioning of Baumholder outside AFN or your weblog. And I used to live near Frankfurt and now in Trier. Do Germans live there, too, or is it all American?

At 8:00 PM, Blogger alex said...

Baumholder is a small German town with a large American Army post built around it.

more info here:

Baumholder is only about 30 mins from Trier. If you swing by Baumholder, you'll see the housing for the thousands of troops easily from off post. In fact the barracks are the dominant feature of the town.


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