Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: On co-existence with a KZ : bystanders and concentration camps in Western Europe 1938-2005
Author: Whatmore, H. J.
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2012
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Restricted access.
Access from Institution:
Nazi concentration camps (KZs) were established in the vicinity of local communities across Europe. These communities have often been characterised as bystanders as they were identifiably not Nazi perpetrators, or victims like those imprisoned in the camps. However, this did not simply make them passive or uninvolved. Situated on the threshold of extreme horror and ‘ordinary life’, bystanders’ relationships with Nazi camps were complex, complicit and, in fact, highly interactive. Their relations with camps also continued after the end of the Second World War. Nazi camps were often reused as post-war internment camps and in some cases took on subsequent identities as penal institutions, military compounds or housing encampments. Over time, many were transformed into sites of memory to commemorate Nazi persecution. Local communities coexisted with these various post-war camp legacies and, very often, they were involved in the metamorphosis of camps into KZ Memorial Sites. However, KZ memorialisation is often conceived of in terms of national cultures of memory with little attention paid to the salient dynamics amongst localised communities. This thesis seeks to reattribute agency to bystanding local populations in the long-term histories of concentration camps. It adopts a comparative approach and examines three case studies of camps in Western Europe: Natzweiler-Struthof (France), Neuengamme (Germany) and Vught (the Netherlands). It evaluates the different patterns of local civilians’ interactions with the Nazi camps and highlights how these conditioned different forms of engagement in post-war commemoration. It traces the contested developments of these camp sites in the changing political climates of the post-war years, relating the trajectories of local, regional and national memory. It contends that local populations were materially and morally scarred by their relationships with the Nazi camps, and the institutionalisation of KZ memory was ultimately interconnected with processes of local memory.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available