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