Fear and Loathing: Ethnic German Attitudes to the Slavs of Southeast Europe in the Light of Nazi Anti-Slavism, Anti-Communism, and Anti-Semitism

Saturday, January 6, 2018: 4:30 PM
Washington Room 2 (Marriott Wardman Park)
Mirna Zakic, Ohio University
This paper will examine the special animosity that the ethnic Germans (Volksdeutsche) living in Nazi-occupied Serbia and the Banat reserved for the majority Slavic population of the Balkans in World War II. Local circumstances -- the presence of two mass resistance movements in the Balkans (one communist, one Serbian nationalist), the ethnic Germans' acute awareness of their own minority status, the early completion of the Holocaust in Serbia-Banat, and the ethnic Germans' relative opportunity to mistreat and despoil Slavs and Jews -- intersected with Nazi prejudices against Jews, Slavs, and Communists to produce an atmosphere in which the ethnic Germans feared and hated the Slavs even more than they did the Jews. At the same time, ethnic German anti-Slavism was shaped by a racialized 'othering' of the Slavs, which had been enhanced by Nazi influence -- but also the geographic and historical circumstances of ethnic German history in the Balkans.
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