The correspondence of Hilde and Roland is well preserved and remains in private ownership in Germany. Stored in 24 large binders, the 4,000+ letters range from 1 to 12 pages long, estimated at some 900.000 words in total. Their correspondence began in May 1938 and, with some brief interruptions, lasted until February 1946 — that is, through the Third Reich, Total War, and the first months of the Occupation.
Roland wrote his letters in a mixture of Sütterlin and the old German cursive; Hilde wrote in a more modern hand but still with some elements of the older styles. During their courtship, they exchanged one or two letters per week, but during the war, they sometimes even wrote more than one letter per day.
The letters are accessible in a variety of media. (You can learn more about “Intermediality” as a method in the public humanities here as well.)
We blog their letters “75 years” after they were first mailed. After 1941/2015, we blogged them less regularly. You can read the most recently blogged letter on the home page. (You can learn more about “decelerating” history in the T&S Project here.)
You can access the earlier letters using the search function, the letter archive, and the tag cloud, all of which can be found on the right column of the main pages.
Archive: The letters are organized by month. Remember that we blog the letter 75 years after the day on which it was mailed, so 2015 = 1940.
Note: letters are marked with a tag when the word or the core of the word does not appear anywhere in the letter. The tag cloud contains only the most frequent tags. A complete list of tags in English can be found here. (under construction)
You can learn about the collection here. and the editorial process for preparing the letters for blogging here.
You can listen to the letters as Audio Books in two formats:
The letters have been recorded in the original German as audio files.
A selection of letter segments for each month have been dramatized as radio plays in the original German that can be heard 75 years later on Radio Tonkuhle FM 105.3 or by Livestream. (The broadcast time is at 10 o‑clock Central European Time on the fourth Tuesday of every month. You can learn more about the radio broadcasts here.)
After being broadcast, you can listen to the individual letters as well as the monthly programs as Podcasts from Radio Tonkuhle. They will be ready soon.
From 2016 to 2019, an historical drama was written on the basis of the correspondence of Hilde Laube and Roland Nordhoff: “Love in the Time of Hitler: A Courtship in Letters, 1938–40”/ “Eine Liebe in Briefen, 1938–1940”.
The German version was written by K. Scott Baker, Andrew S. Bergerson, Lena Faecks, Deborah Parker, Benjamin Roers and is available here; the English version was written by K. Scott Baker, Andrew S. Bergerson, Deborah Parker and is available here.
Both: Creative Commons Lizenz Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) ©2019
The American version of the play “Love in the Time of Hitler: A Courtship in Letters, 1938–40” premiered in May 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri, as part of the workshop “Writing Yourself into History”. The discussions and individuell reactions to the play by the students, teachers, professors, and senior citizens in the audience were recorded on film. To prepare this American audience for the workshop, sich professors recorded scholarly lectures in English and published them on Youtube on the channel “Writing Yourself into History”.
Lecture 1. About this Project, by Andrew Stuart Bergerson
Lecture 2. The Letters & Letter Writers, by Laura Fahnenbruck & Christine Hartig
Lecture 3. Nazi Germany & the Holocaust, by Shelly Cline
Lecture 4. Language & Literature, by K. Scott Baker
Lecture 5. The Play, by Beate Pettigrew
Lecture 6. The Film, by Jennifer Friend
They offer an interdisciplinary introduction to the T&S project, the play, and the use of film as an ethnographic-pedagogical medium.
The T&S Project has been presented to the public in a wide range of setting including “Erzählcafés” at senior living facilities, project weeks at High Schools, university courses, academic lectures, and workshops for teacher professional development.
“Writing Yourself into History: Performing Letters from Nazi Germany”, 20 May 2016, Diastole Conference Center, Kansas City, MO, USA