03/31/2016 Project, Archival Research

Two New Research Projects at the Centre for Historical Studies

In March of this year, we welcomed Dr Susann Lewerenz and Dr Claudia Bade to our team at the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial, where they are working on externally funded research projects. Dr Lewerenz is researching the forms, functions and effects of racism in colonialism and National Socialism, while Dr Bade's research project concerns military justice in the city during the war, with a focus on verdicts, sentences and people involved in the courts of the replacement training army in Hamburg and Northern Germany from 1939 to 1945.

Dr Susann Lewerenz will conduct her research at the memorial's Centre for Historical Studies for the next 15 months. She has collaborated with the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial before on several publications and exhibition projects. She also worked for the international research group Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict and the work group Krieg und Geschlecht (War and Gender) at the Hamburger Stiftung zur Förderung von Wissenschaft und Kultur (Foundation for the Promotion of Research and Culture in Hamburg). In 2015, she obtained her PhD after completed her doctoral thesis with the title "Geteilte Welten. Inszenierungen des 'Exotischen' und ArtistInnen of Color im deutschen Unterhaltungsgewerbe, 1920-1960" (Divided Worlds. The Portrayal of the "Exotic" and Artists of Colour in the German Entertainment Industry, 1920-1960).

Rassismen in Kolonialismus und Nationalsozialismus. Formen - Funktionen - Folgen (Racism in Colonialism and National Socialism: Forms, Functions and Effects) is a cooperative project financed by the Stiftung Erinnerung, Verantwortung und Zukunft (EVZ) (Foundation for Remembrance, Responsibility and Future). The project focuses on the relationships, structural similarities and tensions between European colonialism and National Socialism and explores questions such as how this affects current forms of racism. The Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial (Dr Oliver von Wrochem and Dr Susann Lewerenz), the University of Hamburg (Prof Dr Jürgen Zimmerer and Cäcilia Maag, MA) and the University of Augsburg (Prof Dr Susanne Popp and Philipp Bernhard, MA) are cooperating to develop educational materials on this subject for formal and informal educators (information disseminators) that will be available on the Internet free of charge.

Although the Nazis concentrated mainly on Eastern Europe in their expansion policy, they also strove to regain former German colonies in Africa that had been taken away from Germany by the Treaty of Versailles after the First World War. To achieve this, the Nazis planned to cooperate with people from these former colonies who were living in Germany, although this ran counter to their racial policy. This subproject, based at the Centre for Historical Studies at the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial and designed by Dr Lewerenz, investigates these inconsistencies and looks at how this affected the attitudes and behaviour toward people of colour. Using selected biographies, Dr Lewerenz will research the situation of people from former German and European colonies, as well as their descendants.

Dr Claudia Bade's research project will span two and a half years and will also be conducted at the Centre for Historical Studies. She has also collaborated with the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial before on projects including the concept and design of the special exhibitions on "Hamburger Fußball im Nationalsozialismus" (Football in Hamburg under the Nazi Regime) and "Deserteure und andere verfolgte der NS-Militärjustiz- die Wehrmachtgerichtbarkeit in Hamburg" (Deserters and Other Victims of Nazi Military Justice and the Jurisdiction of the Wehrmacht in Hamburg). She also worked as a research associate at the Hanna Arendt Institute for the Research on Totalitarianism. Dr Bade obtained her PhD in 2003 after completing her doctoral thesis with the title "'Die Mitarbeit der gesamten Bevölkerung ist erforderlich!' Denunziation und Instanzen sozialer Kontrolle am Beispiel des Regierungsbezirks Osnabrück 1933 bis 1949" ("The Cooperation of the Entire Population Is Necessary!" Denunciation and Instances of Social Control, Based on the Example of the Administrative District of Osnabrück from 1933 to 1949).

Dr Bade's current project focuses on the Wehrmacht justice in Hamburg during the Second World War and is funded by the Hamburger Stiftung zur Förderung von Wissenschaft und Kultur (Foundation for the Promotion of Research and Culture of Hamburg). The project's working title is "Militärjustiz und Stadt im Krieg. Die Gerichte des Ersatzheers in Hamburg und Norddeutschland 1939 bis 1945: Spruchtätigkeit, Strafvollstreckung, Akteure" (Military Justice and the City during the War. The Courts of the Replacement Training Army in Hamburg and Northern Germany from 1939 to 1945: Verdicts, Sentences and People Involved). Dr Bade will investigate the verdicts and sentences of two courts in Hamburg by studying the files of court proceedings. Her main objective is to explore the fates of victims of Nazi military courts and look at the careers of such officials as Wehrmacht judges. Not only Wehrmacht personnel were tried by the Nazi courts in Hamburg; many foreign prisoners of war were also taken to court. Through their verdicts and disciplinary actions, the courts contributed to the Wehrmacht's ability to fight to the end. Dr Bade is interested in the nature of the relationship between the Wehrmacht, the Nazi state and the civilian population of Hamburg at a time when the distinction between front vs home front were breaking down. She will publish her research in book form.