Village in the Third Reich: How Ordinary Lives Were Transformed by the Rise of Fascism

Village in the Third Reich: How Ordinary Lives Were Transformed by the Rise of Fascism

By: Julia Boyd

ISBN: 9781783966219
eBook ISBN: 9781783966226
Cover: Hardback
Published: May 5, 2022
Size: 235x156mm
Page Count: 416 pages


‘A fascinating deep dive into one community as it experiences the rise and fall of Hitler . . .  An utterly absorbing insight into the full spectrum of responses from ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.’

The Times

‘Fascinating . . . You’ll learn more about the psychological workings of Nazism by reading this superbly researched chronicle . . . than you will by reading a shelf of wider-canvas volumes on the rise of Nazism.’

Daily Mail

‘Boyd is an outstanding micro-historian. Assisted by Oberstdorf resident Angelika Patel, she gives us the finest of fine detail to demonstrate how village residents defied the regime when and where they could.’



Hidden deep in the Bavarian mountains lies the picturesque village of Oberstdorf – a place where for hundreds of years people lived simple lives while history was made elsewhere.
Yet even this remote idyll could not escape the brutal iron grip of the Nazi regime.

From the author of the bestselling Travellers in the Third Reich comes A Village in the Third Reich: an extraordinarily intimate portrait of Germany under Hitler, shining a light on the lives of ordinary people. Drawing on personal archives, letters, interviews and memoirs, it lays bare their brutality and love; courage and weakness; action, apathy and grief; hope, pain, joy and despair.

Within its pages we encounter people from all walks of life – foresters, priests, farmers and nuns; innkeepers, Nazi officials, veterans and party members; village councillors, mountaineers, socialists, slave labourers, schoolchildren, tourists and aristocrats. We meet the Jews who survived – and those who didn’t; the Nazi mayor who tried to shield those persecuted by the regime; and a blind boy whose life was judged ‘not worth living’.

This is a tale of conflicting loyalties and desires, of shattered dreams – but one in which, ultimately, human resilience triumphs.

These are the stories of ordinary lives at the crossroads of history.


‘Exceptional… Boyd’s book reminds us that even the most brutal regimes cannot extinguish all semblance of human feeling’

Mail on Sunday

‘Masterly . . . [an] important and gripping book . . . [Boyd is] a leading historian of human responses in political extremis.’

The Oldie

 ‘Penetrating beneath the clichés about Nazi Germany, here are ordinary people trying to cope with extraordinary times. Their vivid, moving stories leave us asking “What would I have done?”’
Professor David Reynolds, author of Island Stories: An Unconventional History of Britain

‘Laying bare the tragedies, the compromises, the suffering and the disillusionment. Exemplary microhistory.’
Roger Moorehouse, author of First to Fight: The Polish War 1939

‘Brilliantly researched and expertly told, this is a truly fascinating exploration of how a small village community responded to the rise and fall of the Nazis in Germany.’
Keith Lowe, author of Savage Continent and Prisoners of History

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