Occupied Societies in Western Europe: Conflict and Encounter in the 20th Century

Occupied Societies in Western Europe: Conflict and Encounter in the 20th Century

Prof. Dr. Tatjana Tönsmeyer (Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Essen/Bergische Universität Wuppertal); Dr. Stefan Martens (Deutsches Historisches Institut Paris); Dr. Krijn Thijs (Duitsland Instituut Amsterdam)
Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut in Essen (KWI)
Vom - Bis
07.07.2016 - 08.07.2016
Agnes Laba

The history of Western Europe in the first half of the 20th Century was shaped by numerous contradictions: by conflicts and interdependencies, proximity and distance, violence and cooperation. Many of these elements can be identified in the structures and dynamics of Western European societies under German occupation. After all, the relationship between occupiers and the occupied cannot simply be reduced to “collaboration” and “resistance”, in contrast to the suggestions of an older historiography. Rather, the physical and regulatorypresence of the occupier was accompanied by a great variety of transnational encounters, and by both contacts and conflicts between the occupiers and the occupied. Furthermore, occupation also impacted upon the internal fabric of the occupied societies, going hand-in-hand with specific societal experiences, creating both opportunities for and constraints upon action, transforming daily routines and undermining long-established social certainties. In Western Europe in particular, the structures and scope of these interactions between occupier and occupied, as well as those within the occupied societies themselves, were often fundamentally influenced by forms of hybrid statehood, as the (nation-)state and its agencies were now operating under German supervision. A focus on occupation therefore provides a key to the historical understanding of wartime Western Europe, one capable of unlocking both the strangeness, confrontation and violent border crossings in these years, and also the encounters, hopes, and new opportunities that presented themselves.

The workshop is organized by the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI) in Essen, the German Historical Institute Paris, the Duitsland Instituut Amsterdam (DIA), the University of Wuppertal, and the ADNG Arbeitskreis für Deutsch-Niederländische Geschichte/WDNG Werkgroep voor Duits-Nederlandse Geschiedenis.


Thursday, 7th July 2016

13.30 Welcome

Ethnic Cleansing & Nationalities Policy (Moderation TATAJANA TÖNSMEYER)
JAKOB MÜLLER (FREE UNIVERSITY BERLIN), Learning from failure - The First World War and its impact on the Volkstumspolitik (nationality policy) of the German Military Administration in Belgium in 1940
KATJA HAPPE (UNIVERSITY OF FREIBURG), The Jewish Council in the Netherlands – Searching for a pathway in difficult times
MARIEKE OPREL (UNIVERSITY OF AMSTERDAM), Occupied by the Germans. German enemy aliens in the Netherlands
ALEXA STILLER (UNIVERSITY OF BERN), Population Removal as a Technique of Domination: A Comparison of Nazi Occupation Policy in the East, the West, and the Southeast of the Greater German Reich, 1939-1944

16.00-16.30 Coffee Break

Economic & Social Policy (Moderation STEFAN MARTENS)
KENNETH BERTRAMS/SABINE RUDISCHHAUSER (UNIVERSITY OF LEUVEN), German ambitions and Belgian expectations: Social insurance and industrial relations in occupied Belgium 1940-1944
DANIEL HADWIGER (UNIVERSITY OF TÜBINGEN), Constructing a Socialist Europe? Role and reception of the German Nationalsozialistische Volkswohlfahrt in occupied France and the Netherlands,
AGNES LABA (UNIVERSITY OF WUPPERTAL), State legitimacy through food supply? A few considerations on the political and social implications of the rationing system in post-liberation France

18.30-19.30 Evening Lecture by Prof. Dr hab. PIOTR MADAJCZYK (Institute of Political Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences PAN; Department of German Studies): Der Krieg im Osten. Widerstand - Alltag - Kollaboration

Friday, 8th July 2016

Encounter & Experience (Moderation KRIJN THIJS)
BYRON SCHIRBOCK (UNIVERSITY OF COLOGNE /DHI PARIS), Everyday life, practices and experiences. German soldiers in occupied France 1940-1944
RICK TAZELAAR (UNIVERSITY OF AMSTERDAM), The conductor Willem Mengelberg and the development of a ‘new’ Dutch musical scene during the German Occupation 1940-1944
RAPHAEL SPINA (UNIVERSITY OF AIX-MARSEILLE), The Compulsory labour draft: An enforced opportunity for some French civilians to meet the German population

10.20-11.00 Coffee break with light snacks

Legacies, Burdens, Aftermath (Moderation: CHRISTINA MORINA)
FELIX BOHR (UNIVERSITY OF GÖTTINGEN), A burden from the Second World War? The ‘Breda Four’ and the fate of German-Dutch relations
JONAS CAMPION (UNIVERSITY OF LILLE), The legacies of WWII in public security in Western Europe: The Belgian, French and Dutch gendarmerie policing cases

13.00-13.30 Closing Discussion

From 13.30 Departure

Internal Meeting of the “Working Group on German-Dutch History” (‘Arbeitskreis deutsch-niederländische Geschichte – Werkgroep Duits-Nederlandse geschiedenis’) (ADNG-WDNG)


For more information and to register to take part, please contact Agnes Laba: laba@uni-wuppertal.de or Maria Klauwer: maria.klauwer@kwi-nrw.de

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