Date of Degree

6-2021

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

History

Advisor

Benjamin C. Hett

Committee Members

Steven P. Remy

David Sorkin

Elissa Bemporad

Subject Categories

European History | Holocaust and Genocide Studies

Keywords

Reichskommissariat Ostland, Hinrich Lohse, Holocaust by Bullets, Forced Labor, Deportation, Dynamic Rivalries

Abstract

The dissertation recounts and investigates the impact of the bureaucratic conflicts inherent in the Nazi state apparatus in the implementation of Judenpolitik in an underdeveloped research area--the mass murder of Baltic Jews during World War II. It focuses specifically on Hinrich Lohse, the newly appointed Reichskommissar of the Reichskommissariat Ostland, the German-occupied Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia and parts of western Belorussia in the Soviet Union (known as the RKO), as he sought to navigate the bureaucratic clashes in what was, arguably, one of the most contentious conflicts within the senior Nazi leadership, that is, the Wehrmacht’s unending demand for forced labor composed of millions of Jews, and the murderous activities of the SS in its pursuit of the Nazi ideological goals. The study traces the various instances of pushback, compromises, the shifting alliances, the internal conflicts, and how all that affected both sides of the issue. And it offers new perspectives on the broad themes of polycracy and Judenpolitik. The dissertation, in short, explores and expands on the broader questions of Nazi governance and the Holocaust by a close study of how these questions manifested themselves at the local level and how they shaped the impact of Judenpolitik at that level, with implications for decision- and policymaking in Berlin. The findings will further advance our understanding both of the internal contradictions of Nazi policy and application and of the rivalries and conflicts that led to the ultimate triumph of the SS—and how together these shaped what Lucy Dawidowicz has called “the war against the Jews.”

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