Societies under German Occupation – Experiences and Everyday Life in World War II

Project Leaders:
Prof. Dr. Peter Haslinger (Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe, Marburg/University of Giessen)
Prof. Dr. Tatjana Tönsmeyer (University of Wuppertal/Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI) Essen)

General Editors: Prof. Włodzimierz Borodziej (University of Warsaw), Prof. Peter
Haslinger, Dr. Stefan Martens (German Historical Institute Paris), Prof.
Irina Sherbakova (MEMORIAL Moscow), Prof. Tatjana Tönsmeyer

Coordination: Dr. Agnes Laba (University of Wuppertal)
Managing Editor: Francis Ipgrave M.A., M.Int. (until February 2017), Dr. Eoin Ryan

Fundation: Leibniz Association in cooperation with the German Historical Institute Paris
Pilot Study 2012-2017 “World War II – Everyday Life Under German Occupation”

Online Portal: Societies under German Occupation – Experiences and Everyday Life in World War II

Press: DRadio Wissen Podcast 25.12.2016 with Tatjana Tönsmeyer Nahrungsmittelknappheit zwischen 1939 und 1945. Der grosse Hunger


Cover Fighting Hunger
Fighting Hunger, Dealing with Shortage. Everyday Life under Occupation in World War II Europe

Thus far, the history of the Second World War has been written predominantly as a history of Nazi aggression and its perpetrators. The Holocaust and the crimes of the Wehrmacht have been the particular focus of historical research, as have resistance movements in the occupied countries. In contrast, there is a notable dearth of research on and documentation of the situation and perspectives of local populations living in German-occupied Europe.

The pilot study of the international research and editorial project ‘World War II – Everyday Life Under German Occupation’ seeks to address this deficit. The aim of the project is to compile a research-supported, English-language source edition which documents the diverse and complex everyday circumstances, experiences and survival strategies of ordinary people in the European states and territories occupied by the Wehrmacht during the war. Central themes explored in the source edition include, amongst others, shortage and supply, local administrative institutions, labour and exploitation, and the experience and witnessing of violence and mass killings.

The edition is conceived as a hybrid edition, combining the advantages of a printed publication in English with a digital project portal which will present the sources both in English and the original languages. Work on the first printed volume will be completed by the end of the pilot study in April 2016. In total, the print edition will consist of eight volumes.

The project brings together scholars from 15 European countries and offers a unique transnational perspective on a period and topic which remains highly relevant for the politics of history and memory throughout Europe, but which has hitherto been investigated primarily in relation to individual countries.

  • Belarus: Dr. Kusma Kozak (Belarusian State University Minsk)
  • Belgium: Dr. Dirk Luyten (Centre for Historical Research and Documentation on War and Contemporary Society Bruxelles/CEGESOMA)
  • Bohemia/Moravia (Protectorate): Prof. Tatjana Tönsmeyer (University of Wuppertal/KWI Essen)
  • Channel Islands (as occupied region of Great Britain): Dr. Stefan Martens (German Historical Institute Paris)
  • Denmark: Prof. Karl Christian Lammers (University of Copenhagen)
  • Estonia: Prof. Anu-Mai Kõll (Södertörn University Sweden)
  • France: Prof. Olivier Wieviorka (Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan) und Dr. Stefan Martens (German Historical Institute Paris)
  • Greece: Dr. Violetta Hionidou (Newcastle University)
  • Hungary: Prof. Peter Haslinger (Herder Institute, Marburg/University of Gießen)
  • Italy: Prof. Gustavo Corni (University of Trento)
  • Latvia: Prof. Anu-Mai Kõll (Södertörn University, Sweden)
  • Lithuania: Dr. Darius Staliunas (Lithuanian Institute of History Vilnius)
  • Luxembourg: Prof. Benoît Majerus (University of Luxembourg)
  • Netherlands: Prof. Kees Ribbens und Prof. Peter Romijn (Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies Amsterdam/NIOD)
  • Norway: Prof. Guri Hjeltnes (Center for Studies of Holocaust and Religious Minorities Oslo)
  • Poland: Prof. Jerzy Kochanowski (University of Warsaw)
  • Russia: Prof. Irina Sherbakova (MEMORIAL Moscow)
  • Slovakia: Prof. Tatjana Tönsmeyer (University of Wuppertal/KWI Essen)
  • Ukraine: Prof. Dr. Gelinada Grinchenko (Kharazin Kharkiv University)
  • Yugoslavia, former (areas occupied by Wehrmacht): Prof. Milan Ristović (University of Belgrade)
Projektbild WWII
„Postimees“-Besteller 1943 in Estonia, Hintzer Collection, Image Archive Herder Institute, Inv.-Nr. 156159