26th Annual Symposium of the Friends of the GHI

Nov 10, 2017

Award of the Fritz Stern Prize at the GHI | Prize Winner: Bradley J. Nichols (Virginia Tech)

  • Prize Winner: Bradley J. Nichols (Virginia Tech), The Hunt for Lost Blood: Nazi Germanization Policy in Occupied Europe (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Tennessee, 2017)

Prize Citation

Selection Committee: Monica Black (chair, University of Tennessee-Knoxville), Yair Mintzker (Princeton University), and Annemarie Sammartino (Oberlin College)

Bradley Nichols's rich, learned, and sophisticated dissertation tells the story of the re-Germanization of individuals in German-occupied Europe during the Second World War. According to Nichols, at the heart of the murderous Nazi policies in Europe lay a strange paradox: at the very same time that S.S. racial "experts" were engaged in genocidal policies, they were also anxious about cleansing the wrong racial elements from the non-German populations under their control. They all agreed that the German Volksgemeinschaft should be purged from foreign elements, but some of them also thought they could identify, then reintegrate into Germany, "lost German blood" (German ethnic elements), thus enriching the biological makeup of the German Volk while weakening the life force of non-German ethnic groups. Nichols reconstructs this aspect of Nazi policies in astounding detail, from a discussion of how the S.S. discussed such policies, to the way it searched for "lost German blood" on the ground, to the stories of countless individuals -- in the East, in Western Europe, and in the Third Reich itself -- who, willingly or not, pushed for, or were affected by, such policies. This is by no means untrodden historical terrain, and yet through dogged and careful research, Nichols has managed to find new and important archival sources that contribute to a compelling Alltagsgeschichte of the German occupation. "The Hunt for Lost Blood" is a draft of what promises to be an important contribution to the study of German occupied Europe during the Second World War.