Photography under National Socialism


This research project explores the everyday photography of Nazi Germany and the occupied territories of western Poland as a visualization of inclusion and exclusion, while also exploring photography itself as an act of intervention and a tool for inclusion and exclusion. The main focus is on analyzing the photographic self-representations of “Volksgenossen” (“ethnonational comrades” as defined by the Nazi Party) as a stag-ing and performance of community, as well as a practice of exclusion, violence and stigmatization. For the “Century of Images” (Gerhard Paul), photographic images represent an outstanding source of historical information that often goes far beyond written sources in vividly illustrating the everyday community-building processes seen under National Socialism. This project includes four subsections that investigate visual (self-) representations of belonging and exclusion: in the public sphere, at festivals and celebrations; in the workplace; in “perpetrator photos”; and in photos from the occupied territories. Here, the community-building process is always understood as a multilayered and potentially conflicted one, involving not only community membership (with its externally imposed demands and self-imposed duties) and exclusion, but also resistance to the community, withdrawal of the self, acts of separation, and even the desire for individualization. Last but not least, this research project will also play a pioneering role in deepening and systematizing the scholarly study of photographic sources, an area that has been relatively underdeveloped until now.


Principal Investigators
Wildt, Michael Prof. Dr. (Details) (German History of the 20th Century)

Duration of Project
Start date: 11/2014
End date: 11/2017

Last updated on 2020-17-03 at 23:14