Added: August 1, 2015 – Last updated: August 1, 2015


Author: Laurie R. Cohen

Title: Smolensk under the Nazis

Subtitle: Everyday Life in Occupied Russia

Place: Rochester, NY

Publisher: University of Rochester Press

Year: 2013

Pages: xiii + 364pp.

Series: Rochester Studies in East and Central Europe 10

ISBN-13: 9781580464697 (hardcover) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-13: 9781580468299 (ebk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: 20th Century | Russian History | Types: Wartime Rape / Second World War


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  Acknowledgments (p. ix)
  Abbreviations (p. xi)
  Introduction (p. 1)
Part 1: Methodologies
  1 Oral, Gender, and Everyday Life Histories in a German-Soviet-War Context (p. 19)
Part 2: A Record of the War and Occupation
  2 Between Invasion and Liberation: Everyday Life and Loyalties Prior to the German-Soviet War (p. 33)
  3 Defense and Surrender of Smolensk (p. 47)
  4 "Normalcy" (p. 61)
  5 Occupation Atrocities and War Crimes (p. 96)
Part 3: Popular Attitudes, Propaganda, and Enemy Imagery
  6 Between Stalinists and Nazis: The Long-Term Aims and Long-Lasting Effects of Occupation (p. 135)
  7 Propaganda and Persuasion (p. 148)
  8 Group Perceptions, Oral Narratives (p. 187)
  9 Sex/Gender Relations and Youth Experiences (p. 220)
Part 4: Restoration and Reconstruction
  10 Liberation and Revival (p. 235)
  11 Interrogations, War Crimes Trials, and the Making of War History (p. 247)
  Conclusion (p. 265)
  Notes (p. 271)
  Bibliography (p. 325)
  Index (p. 355)


»The 1941 German invasion of the Soviet Union ("Operation Barbarossa") significantly altered the lives of the civilians in occupied Russian territories, yet these individuals' stories are overlooked by most scholarly treatments of the attack and its aftermath. This study, drawing on oral-history interviews and a broad range of archival sources, provides a fascinating and detailed account of the everyday life of Soviets, Jews, Roma, and Germans in the city of Smolensk during its twenty-six months under Nazi rule.
Smolensk under the Nazis records the profound and painful effects of the invasion and occupation on the 30,000 civilian residents (out of a prewar population of roughly 155,000) who remained in this border town. It also compares Nazi and Stalinist local propaganda efforts, as well as examining the stance of Russian civilians, thereby investigating what it meant to support -- or hinder -- the new Nazi-German and collaborating Russian authorities. By underlining the human dimensions of the war and its often neglected long-term effects, Laurie Cohen promotes a more complex understanding of life under occupation. Smolensk under the Nazis thus complements recent works on everyday life in occupied Ukraine, Belarus, and the Baltic States as well as on the siege of Leningrad.« (Source: University of Rochester Press)


Beorn, Waitman. European History Quarterly 45(1) (January 2015): 138-140. – Full Text: SAGE Journals (Restricted Access)

Enstad, Johannes D. The Slavonic and East European Review 93(2) (April 2015): 389-391. – Full Text: JSTOR (Restricted Access)

Giblin, Daniel F. Canadian Slavonic Papers 56(3-4) (September-December 2014). – Full Text: Questia (Restricted Access)

Herlihy, Patricia. The Journal of Interdisciplinary History 45(3) (Winter 2015): – Full Text: Project MUSE (Restricted Access)

Tönsmeyer, Tatjana. Sehepunkte. Rezensionsjournal für die Geschichtswissenschaften 15(3) (March 2015). – Full Text: Sehepunkte (Free Access)

Walke, Anita. » Everyday Violence and Survival in German-Occupied Smolensk.« H-Urban (February 2015). – Full Text: H-Net Reviews (Free Access)

Wikipedia: Wartime sexual violence: War crimes of the Wehrmacht, World War II