About the Letters

Trug&Schein publis­hes the pri­va­te cor­re­spon­dence of two “ordi­na­ry” Ger­mans “named” Roland Nord­hoff and Hil­de Lau­be (pseud­onyms). In their let­ters, they dis­cuss a wide ran­ge of topics. 

Hil­de, on Lili­en­stein, 25. Sep­tem­ber 1938

Their love sto­ry begins in May 1938 in two small vil­la­ges in Sax­o­ny with their courtship. With Roland’s con­scrip­ti­on into the Ger­man Navy in August 1940, the cor­re­spon­dence widens into Nazi-occu­p­ied Europe.

Ger­ma­ny (Bor­ders 1937), Aut­hor: zie­gel­bren­ner,
21.10.2008, Public Domain via Wiki­me­dia Com­mons, 01.2019

This cor­re­spon­dence offers a way to explo­re ever­y­day life in the Third Reich and Second World War from a new per­spec­ti­ve. This web­site invi­tes an inter­na­tio­nal audi­ence to par­ti­ci­pa­te in a net­wor­ked pro­cess of refle­xi­ve enga­ge­ment with the ever­y­day life of the Second World War.

Hil­de, on Lili­en­stein, 25. Sep­tem­ber 1938

Who were Hil­de and Roland?

They met in church choir. She was born in 1920, he was born in 1907. She was a labo­rer, he was bour­geois. Both were pious Pro­tes­tants and “Aryans” accord­ing to Nazi racial laws. But what were their atti­tu­des about the Nazis? the war? About lite­ra­tu­re? film? music? About fami­ly? mar­ria­ge? gen­der roles? sexua­li­ty? About each other and the peop­le around them? You can learn more about the let­ter wri­ters here.

How many let­ters are we tal­king about?

Over 4000. You can learn more about the cor­re­spon­dence here.

Are all of the let­ters available?

Not yet. We blog their let­ters “75 years” after they were first mai­led. After 1941/2015, we blog­ged them less regu­lar­ly. (You can learn more about “dece­le­ra­ting” histo­ry in the T&S Pro­jekt here.)

What can I do on this website?

You can explo­re the let­ters. They are publicly acces­si­ble and searcha­ble in many media: as a blog, as audio books, as plays, as work­shops, and as a com­pu­ter game.

Selec­ted let­ters are avail­ab­le in Eng­lish. They are all avail­ab­le in Ger­man.

The online public can com­ment on indi­vi­du­al let­ters or respond to the comments of others. Regis­ter first to do so.

Aut­hors may sub­mit lon­ger essays that they have writ­ten for review and pos­si­ble publi­ca­ti­on. See more here.

Scho­l­ars can dig deeper into the pro­ject, use the let­ters for rese­arch, and sub­mit their own ana­ly­ses for publi­ca­ti­on on this web­site. More infor­ma­ti­on here.

Inst­ruc­tors can use the pubic T&S cur­ri­cu­lum in their cour­ses or work­shops. Access the­re here.

Stu­dents can access the T&S units here free of cost.

The T&S rese­arch team can log­in here.

To what end?

The goal of this pro­ject is not sim­ply to teach Nazi histo­ry to the public, as is often the case, but rather to reflect anew about ever­y­day life in Nazi-occu­p­ied Euro­pe and its rele­van­ce for our con­tem­pora­ry world.  Hil­de and Roland’s let­ters invi­te a cri­ti­cal enga­ge­ment with the Nazi past. Wri­te with us!

What does “Trug und Schein” mean?

The name of the pro­ject deri­ves from one of Roland’s ear­ly let­ters, from 16.05.1938, when he descri­bed the era in which he lived in the fol­lowing terms: “We live in hard times. ​Trug und Schein​, swind­les and shams cloak the truth. Ever­yo­ne wears some kind of mask. Raw lust and cupi­di­ty show up ever­y­whe­re. And it is a stro­ke of luck, a bles­sing, if one can remain strai­ght and unbo­wed, if one does not suc­cumb to tempt­ati­on and can sal­va­ge one’s faith and year­ning for what is good, true, and noble. “(Vgl. 07.05.1942)

How can I learn more about this project?

The pro­ject is descri­bed here in more detail and here for an aca­de­mic audi­ence. In the lat­ter pages, you can find detail­ed descrip­ti­ons of the scho­l­ar­ly theo­ries, methods, and lite­ra­tu­re that infor­med this pro­ject. A chro­ni­cle of this project’s deve­lo­p­ment is under construction.

Other ques­ti­ons?

You can learn more about the pro­ject by rea­ding the other pages in this web­site. If you have addi­tio­nal ques­ti­ons, feel free to con­ta­ct the pro­ject lea­ders.

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