Caroline MezgerMar 28, 2022
Youth, Nation, and the National Socialist Mobilization of Ethnic Germans in Yugoslavia, 1918-1944
Oxford University Press, USA 2020
Caroline Mezger's Forging Germans: Youth, Nation, and the National Socialist Mobilization of Ethnic Germans in Yugoslavia, 1918-1944 (Oxford UP, 2020) explores the nationalization and eventual National Socialist mobilization of ethnic German children and youth in interwar and World War II Yugoslavia, particularly in two of its multiethnic, post-Habsburg borderlands: the Western Banat and the Batschka. Drawing upon original oral history interviews, untapped archival materials from Germany, Hungary, and Serbia, and historical press sources, the book uncovers the multifarious ways in which political, ecclesiastical, cultural, and military agents from Germany colluded with local nationalist activists to inculcate Yugoslavia’s ethnic Germans with divergent notions of “Germanness.” As the book shows, even in the midst of Yugoslavia’s violent and shifting Axis occupation, children and youth not only remained the subjects, but became agents of nationalist activism, as they embraced, negotiated, redefined, proselytized, lived, and died for the “Germanness” ascribed to them. Forging Germans is conceptualized as a contribution to the study of National Socialism from a transnational and comparative perspective, to the mid-twentieth-century history of Southeastern Europe and its relation to Germany, to studies of borderland nationalism and experiences of World War II occupation, and to the history of childhood and youth.
Jill Massino is a scholar of modern Eastern Europe with a focus on Romania, gender, and everyday life.