Established academic Western historians are biased

Reviewed for H-Soz-Kult by
Karl Ditt, Regional Association of Westphalia-Lippe

In recent years, research on the historiography of science in the Third Reich has focused on working out the contribution of historians, especially so-called folk researchers, to the conception and legitimation of the National Socialist policy of expansion and mass extermination. [1] Here, numerous scientists, organizations and institutions came into focus who had tried to prove an early German settlement and culture beyond the contemporary German eastern border. Because their work was z. Partly by National Socialists to justify and legitimize the conquest of Eastern European countries, the resettlement, even extermination of the native population and the settlement of German settlers. [2]

The response to these studies of the 1980s and 1990s was great, as they opened up a new perspective by establishing scientific preparatory work for the raids on other nations, for processes of extermination and resettlement, and for the policy of Germanization as a whole. In addition, they pointed to the scientific-political double role of historians who played a pioneering role in the development of historical science in the Federal Republic and who in some cases also received high awards from a democratic state [3] In fact, some received the stamp of “Vordenker of annihilation ”(Götz Aly); In addition, the approaches to researching people's and cultural areas as a whole were placed under suspicion of political input and instrumentalization.

Recently, those historians of the 1920s and 1930s who explored the West beyond the borders of the German Empire have now become more of a focus of interest. [4] For them, too, the question arises to what extent they participated conceptually and practically in the National Socialist expansion policy, i.e. the incursion into Western Europe. The book by the Dutch social scientist Hans Derks is now available on this subject. The outside view, coupled with knowledge of the scientific situation in the Netherlands and Belgium, promises a special gain in knowledge. In addition, the book by Michael Fahlbusch, who can be counted among the historians who have the most comprehensive overview of folk research in the Third Reich, was euphorically discussed in the Internet service for historians 'H-Soz-Kult'. Nonetheless, Derks' book should be viewed critically here.

Derks announces his work cautiously and modestly: He would like “only an introduction to the problem history of Western research”, ie “the scientific activities of the German occupiers in the occupied territories [here: Netherlands, Belgium and Northern France] and their history” (p. 9f.). Immediately afterwards, however, he confronts the reader with a strong thesis: The difference between West and East research “lies in the [...] strange fact that West research could be continued undeterred after the war, both in Germany and also in the Netherlands and Belgium ”(p. 9f.). Above all, Derks sees an ongoing collaboration between the Dutch bureaucracy and the Dutch "Western researchers" on the one hand and the German and West German "Western researchers" on the other. Among those who continued this tradition on the German side, he counts among others the employees of the Collaborative Research Center (SFB) 235 "Between Meuse and Rhine". This SFB appears at Derks as a monumental new edition of the West German Research Association from the time of the Third Reich. [5] Employees of the former protagonists of “Westforschung” at that time, Franz Steinbach and Franz Petri, but also those of Edith Ennen would have “excellent positions” in it. As further evidence of the continuity of “Westforschung” and the cooperation, Derks cites that three new German institutes in Amsterdam, Utrecht and Nijmegen, which were founded in 1996, “with the typically German 'Grenzlandinstitut' in Münster, the center for Netherlands studies - 'then' and now one of the most important places in Western research - have to work together. ”(P. 19). In addition to the evidence of corresponding continuities and collaborations, it is therefore not surprising that a second goal of Derks is to break the “policy of staged silence” (p. 19) and to close the plans for the integration of the Netherlands into Germany that have existed since the First World War expose. [6]

After these introductory bangs, Derks goes into six chapters on “Western research”. In Chapter 1, he deals with the beginnings of “research on the West” during the Weimar Republic. Methodologically pioneering, Derks names 15 scientists who “probably held the most important positions in the research communities” (p. 30) based on a frequency count from the register of the work of Michael Fahlbusch [7] and then treats - with little structure - some writings and activities of individual “ Western researchers ”, including Hermann Aubin and Franz Steinbach,“ who were all inspired by the National Socialist spirit before 1933 ”(p. 42). [8] Chapter 2 subjects the cultural area research developed in the 1920s at the "Institute for Historical Regional Studies of the Rhineland" to a criticism. Derks questions the innovative character of their interdisciplinarity by referring to forerunners in geography and "the state's compulsion to interdisciplinarity" (p. 62). In addition, he rightly complains about the missing link between folkloric, historical and dialectal with geographical results as well as the lack of consideration of agricultural historical and economic sources. One can only determine a “temporary multidisciplinarity” (p. 65); there is no theory of cultural research; as a result, “very questionable historical constructions” emerged (p. 62).

In Chapter 3, Derks first deals with an initiative launched at the beginning of 1940 by the German scholar, folklorist and SS-Hauptsturmführer Otto Plaßmann to take over the 'German Institute for Foreign Studies' in Münster, founded by the central politician Georg Schreiber in 1927, in order to do it for the Cooperation between the German Empire and the Netherlands in the areas of Germanic research into customs - Plaßmann was head of fairy tale research in the SS Ahnenerbe [9] - and the educational work on folk culture. [10] These objectives were part of the so-called Holland Plan, which Plaßmann had agreed with the "Reich Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda" (p. 86). Although Plaßmann, according to Derks, soon turned to other tasks, the "Holland Plan" apparently still seems to have remained valid, now as a plan of the SS. [11] The further fate of the institute, which was to become an institutional basis for the SS’s “Western research”, remains untreated.

The second center of "Westforschung" had its personnel base in the established scientific organizations. At the beginning of the Second World War, one of the protagonists, the historian Franz Petri, was given responsibility for the cultural policy of the military administration in Belgium. Here he pursued a policy of Germanization primarily through measures against the universities and tried to prove the ethnic unity of the Belgian, Dutch and German regions through his own writings. Derks also gives the impression that Petri acted less as a member of the military administration, but rather belonged to the SS due to his background, attitude and objectives, legitimized its plans and was ultimately able to rely on them (p. 103ff.). Previous research (Horst Lademacher and Karl Ditt) would have played this down or withheld it. [12] Ultimately, the two centers of "West Research", i.e. the "Dutch SS" Ahnenerbe "" and the
"" Belgian "Wehrmacht research", differentiated only by the political reorganization ideas of a national, Greater Dutch solution or a Germanic Small Dutch / Small Belgian solution under integration into the German Reich (p. 127).

Chapter 4 on the West Research of the Dutch Scientists then presents the first part of the main thesis on the collaboration between the National Socialists and the Dutch elite. Derks sees a “community of interests between the Dutch and German state elite” (p. 149), i.e. he claims that the Dutch administration supports the German occupation to such an extent that “one can speak of a second occupation” (p. 130). He names several Dutch scientists by name - including the historian Pieter Geyl, who was temporarily imprisoned in a concentration camp by the National Socialists - who had worked with German scientists, sees in the realization of the Dutch polders an - ultimately economically useless - implementation of Christaller's theory of the central one Orte, ie an example of the collaboration between Dutch and German planners [13], generally notes a successful endeavor to network German with Dutch and Belgian spatial planning, and refers to the takeover of German anthropological and folklore research approaches by Dutch scientists. He positively contrasts these political-scientific collaborations with the distant and critical stance of his teacher, the agricultural historian Slicher van Bath.

Above all, Derks points out the existence of a “Holland” and a “Belgium-Northern France” plan, in which he in turn recognizes components of “the SS-West program”. He apparently regards this western program, for which “no further data is available to this day” (p. 199), as the western counterpart to the General Plan East. In any case, since the end of 1942 / beginning of 1943, German scientists should have worked on topics relating to the economy, population and culture of Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium on the basis of a strategy by the historian Franz Petri responsible for Belgium and the spatial planner responsible for the Netherlands Hermann Roloff Complete individual plans. On the basis of an interpretation of these issues, Derks draws a scenario according to which Wallonia should be regrarianized, the Walloon industry relocated to the Netherlands and the Walloons relocated to the east.

Above all, Petri, who appears to Derks to be downright dependent (p. 108), supporter (p. 114), propagandist and scientific supporter (p. 117ff.) Of the SS, is not only a planner, but also a particularly important expert for the question was to what extent the Walloons belonged to the Nordic race - a question which, as Derks explains with reference to "Ostforschung", could be decisive for whether the Walloons should be resettled in the Generalgouvernement and thus possibly also murdered. According to Derks, who is based on two of his articles in the SS-Ahnenerbe magazine “Westland”, he “definitely decided against the Walloons” (pp. 115ff., 202f.). Derks therefore also speculates about whether Petri was more of a “thought leader” or “enforcer” (pp. 117, 202).

Chapter 5 continues his main thesis, the thesis of the continuity of “Western research” and the collaboration from “1945 to today” (p. 206). Assuming that "[here] [...] for the sake of simplicity [it is] assumed that the entire Nazi east research potential within the FRG was used to support the generally unchanged west research" (p. 206), Derks initially points out following the founding of the 'Working Group for West German Regional and Folk Research' in 1949. The aim of this working group, for which Franz Petri worked as managing director, was once again research on both sides of the western borders of the FRG. Petri, meanwhile director of the Provincial Institute for Westphalian Regional Studies and Folklore, had given Dutch scientists the opportunity to publish who had already participated in the discussion about polder colonization during the Second World War. In addition, together with Steinbach, he tried to re-establish contacts with his Dutch colleagues from the time of the Third Reich through conference invitations and publication offers and was able to win over many of them to collaborate and resume historical research on the West. At the conferences, the same protagonists discussed the same topics, approaches and arguments as in the time of the Third Reich, such as the question of the influence of cultural phenomena from the German into the Dutch area. Cologne, for example, was treated as the central location of a cultural area, the borders of which extended far into the Netherlands and the Belgian-French language border.

In Chapter 6 Derks summarizes some of his theses once again: the development of the state bureaucracy and its scientific followers in the Netherlands into “second occupiers”; the SS plan, pursued by Roloff and Petri, to make Belgium and the Netherlands part of a Greater Germanic Empire; the cooperation between German western researchers and Dutch and Belgian scientists during the Third Reich and after its end "until today". One of the successes of the "Westforschungskombinat" (p. 247) was that the filling of important humanities positions at the Universities of Utrecht and Nijmegen had been largely controlled and that cultural research could be continued; After 1945, the protagonist for the German-Dutch area was the Petri student Horst Lademacher, founder and long-time director of the 'Center for Dutch Studies'. Finally, the multi-volume “Algemene Geschiedenis der Nederlanden”, presented by Dutch authors, “can be read as a triumph of German researchers in the West” (p. 255). In contrast, the scientific alternative, Slicher van Bath's approach, was only used to a limited extent in the Netherlands.

Not only does Derks' book fall into its parts when you turn the pages, the argumentation is also not very tenable. Derks draws on sources from the Amsterdam World War II archives, deals with the collaboration between Dutch, Belgian and German scientists and goes beyond the period of the Third Reich, but tries less to gain knowledge than to prosecute. This remains superficial and speculative in the main points, is partly dishonorable and seems to be determined more by pronounced subjective experiences and preferences. Four points of criticism should be mentioned. First, Derks does not adequately address the independence, principles and causes of the resonance of research on folk and cultural areas. With its basic terms and determinants “space” and “nationality” and the resulting fields of work that transcend political boundaries and epochs, it created - especially in comparison to the still dominant ideological and political-oriented historiography - the development of new sources and questions, its cartographic- statistical and interdisciplinary methods as well as their - from today's point of view highly speculative, e.g. Sometimes wrong too - results undoubtedly a scientific innovation. This innovative strength contributed significantly to the expansion of regional studies, among other things. by founding numerous new, primarily non-university institutions. The spatial and popular orientation also made these approaches interesting in terms of domestic policy in view of the imperial reform plans during the Weimar Republic and foreign policy in view of the revision efforts of the Versailles Treaty and secured them appropriate financial support. Scientific innovation and political applicability in turn attracted some of the young people in the humanities within the Reich, but also those researchers from abroad, to whom the basic ideas of the approach were linguistically accessible.

It would have been new and knowledge-enhancing if Derks had identified German research on the people and cultural areas with its interest in researching Germanic evidence beyond contemporary political boundaries as unique, or a possible interplay between stimulus and reaction of the scientific and scientific-political approaches of Germany orFrance, Belgium or the Netherlands could have determined with regard to the exploration of their historical borders. [14] Derks, however, does not even deal with the work of the 'Institute for historical regional studies', the three main works of cultural space research [15] or the results of the German “Western researchers”. Derks could have gone further if he had dealt with the contemporary national and international reception of these works, in particular to what extent they determined the prevailing opinion in the sciences, for example in reviews or handbooks. [16] Finally, Derks could have been progressive by including the assessment of the approaches and results of spatial and folk research by today's archeology, history and philology. [17] Without taking contemporary and contemporary comments and classifications into account, one will not be able to seriously assess the attempts at construction, tendencies and scope for interpretations in the work of folk and cultural area researchers. So Derks makes it very easy for himself in the description and analysis of one of his main subjects, namely what he calls Western research: he unreservedly stamps their representatives and approaches as politicized and thus gives away an important benchmark for weighing up what is in their work as scientific and what can be considered politically motivated.

Second, Derks' attempt to convincingly trace the organizational and programmatic relationships between science and politics also fails. Certainly the imperialist policy of the German Empire and the lost First World War with its territorial cession were an important motive for some scientists to devote themselves to researching the historical connections on both sides of the German border - whereby the return to the Germanic era appeared to be particularly fruitful - , and these interests were certainly promoted in many ways by the various forms of government, and in particular by the Third Reich. I.e. dispositions and interests for cooperation between science and politics were given. The 'Institute for Historical Regional Studies of the Rhineland' has played a dual role in science and politics since it was founded. What is decisive, however, is to analyze in detail whether or to what extent politically specific work assignments were carried out or whether the choice of topic was autonomous, whether scientific results were falsified in favor of political interests and whether a critical discussion was suppressed. Derks avoids this trouble.

The same applies to the treatment of German science policy in Belgium during the Second World War. What were the interests of the military administration and what were those of the SS? Where were there similarities and where were differences? What was the result? The contacts highlighted by Derks between representatives of the occupation administrations and the SS in the occupied countries during the Second World War, which Fahlbusch stylized in his review as "functioning industrial relations" and viewed as new, were self-evident and initially do not allow any conclusions to be drawn about the substantive results. In my opinion, Petri's Westland articles, which Derks referred to, in which he assumes that the Walloons were excluded from the Nordic race, so that he released them for resettlement or shooting, say the opposite. In these articles, Petri represents his old position that the Walloons also have Germanic-Franconian roots, m.a.W. should not be excluded. [18] With misinterpretations, mere references to meetings with SS leaders, let alone rhetorical questions and assumptions, Petri - despite all of his willingness to act in favor of the Third Reich [19] - cannot be turned into a strategist and legitimizer of the SS plans. [19] 20]

Proof of pioneering and enforcement functions of German scientists in the West that goes beyond the previous state of research, which would allow "West research" to be paralleled with "East research", would require evidence of an offer or an instruction, but above all evidence of the Existence of a general plan West, its preparation and implementation and not mere guesswork. From the logic of the views of cultural area researchers such as Franz Steinbach and Franz Petri, who saw north-western Europe to a large extent as Franconian, numerous political solutions for possible political reorganizations could be developed in the west; They also treated the peoples in the west of the empire with a completely different respect than those in the east. Despite all the tendencies towards scientification of politics that began in Germany in the 1920s, Derks, in my opinion, also overestimated the importance of science for National Socialist politics. Not only was it possible from a historical perspective a multitude of different spatial constructions, it would also have been astonishing if the National Socialists in particular had orientated their expansion policy to “scientifically” justifiable and delimitable and not to military-power-political criteria.

Thirdly, the emphasis on collaboration between administration and scientists in the Netherlands with the German occupying power needs more to be convincing than the reference to individual projects and the reference to the fact that significantly more Jews were killed in the Netherlands than in Belgium: Here The representatives of the occupied countries in the economy, society, culture and politics would have to reconstruct motives and goals, analyze possibilities and compulsions for action, consider the question of whether they prompted the occupiers to adopt alternatives to their politics and, if possible, make comparisons .

Fourth, it is downright absurd to claim a continuity of “Western research” from the German Empire “until today” in the sense of Derks. He obviously understands it to mean any treatment of Germanic or German traces beyond the German western borders or the relations and influences of Germany on the countries in the west and assumes that it should and should serve the expansion of Germany. The parallelization of the empire, the Weimar Republic and the Federal Republic with the Third Reich as well as the parallelization of the objectives of the work of unnamed Belgian and Dutch scientists, the SFB 235 and Horst Lademacher with political objectives of "Western research" of the Third Reich disqualify Derks as a historian to be taken seriously. [21] The really exciting question about the scientific-political adaptations of the scientists in the change of the systems, in particular from the Third Reich to the Federal Republic of Germany, which also brought the historiography research to the Third Reich a certain public interest, becomes with a pure continuity thesis and the provision of ill-conceived examples trampled down.

What remains is a highly person-centered indictment that has so far been the most radical product of a recent historiographic tendency. In this indictment, the few new facts are lost or aroused suspicion in their interpretation and evaluation due to the obvious bias. The question therefore arises as to why the editors of the series History and History in the 20th Century ’have accepted this obvious pamphlet without giving a reason.

Editor's note: The text also appears in Westfälische Forschungen 52 (2002).

[1] See Schönwälder, Karen, Historians and Politics. History of National Socialism, Frankfurt am Main 1992; Wolff, Ursula, Litteris et Patriae. The Janus Face of History, Stuttgart 1996; Schöttler, Peter (ed.), Historiography as a science of legitimation 1918-1945, Frankfurt am Main 1997; Schulze, Winfried; Oexle, Otto Gerhard (ed.), German historian under National Socialism, Frankfurt am Main 1999; Fahlbusch, Michael, Science in the Service of National Socialist Politics? The “Volksdeutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft” from 1931-1945, Baden-Baden 1999.
[2] Cf. B. Burleigh, Michael, Germany Turns Eastwards. A Study of Ostforschung in the Third Reich, Cambridge 1988; Rössler, Mechtild, "Science and Living Space". Geographical East Research in National Socialism. A contribution to the history of the discipline of geography, Berlin 1990; Haar, Ingo, historian under National Socialism. German history and the “Volkstumskampf” in the east, Göttingen 2000.
[3] Willi Oberkrome dealt with and validly answered the “brown roots” aspect of German social history at an early stage: see Oberkrome, Willi, Volksgeschichte. Methodical innovation and ethnic ideology in German history 1918-1945, Göttingen 1993; Ders., Historian in the "Third Reich". On the importance of popular historical approaches between classical politics and modern social history, in: Geschichte in Wissenschaft und Studium 50 (1999), pp. 74-98; Ders., On the continuity of ethnocentric history after 1945, in: Zeitschrift für Geschichtswwissenschaft 49 (2001), pp. 50-61; see also Schulze, Winfried, Deutsche Geschichtswwissenschaft nach 1945, Munich 1989; most recently Etzemüller, Thomas, social history as political history. Werner Conze and the reorientation of West German history after 1945, Munich 2001.
[4] Cf. Schöttler, Peter, The historical “Westforschung” between “Abwehrkampf” and territorial offensive, in: Ders. (Ed.), Historschreib als Legitimationswissenschaft 1918-1945, Frankfurt am Main 1997, pp. 204-261; Ders., From Rhenish State History to Nazi Folk History or The “Inaudible Voice of Blood”, in: Schulze, Winfried; Oexle, Otto Gerhard (ed.), German Historian in National Socialism, Frankfurt am Main 1999, pp. 89-113; Dietz, Burkhard, The interdisciplinary “West Research” of the Weimar Republic and the Nazi era as an object of scientific and contemporary history. Considerations on the state of research and research perspectives, in: Geschichte im Westen 14 (1999), pp. 189-209.
[5] “It is not just a project that was carried out from 1987 to 2003 in the core area of ​​Western researchers by medievalists, art historians, geographers, regional and folklorists and local researchers; It is probably also the largest post-war human sciences project with currently 29 sub-projects, which together last 200 project years and - if I guess correctly - at least 1000 scientists have somehow and at some point in these years been involved in research, with conferences or publications. "Derks, p. 21 .
[6] Incidentally, a parliamentary group leader of the Dutch Social Democrats "indirectly called [...] to merge the Netherlands with Germany, which would achieve a primary goal of Western research." Derks, p. 20.
[7] Cf. the title by Fahlbusch in Note 1.
[8] For Steinbach, Derks stated on the basis of a quote from 1926 that he “established himself as a prototypical Nazi early and clearly”. Derks, p. 34.
[9] On Plaßmann see Kater, Michael H., Das "Ahnenerbe" der SS 1935-1945. A contribution to the cultural policy of the Third Reich, Munich 2001, p. 46, 201f .; Lixfeld, Gisela, Heinrich Himmler's "Ahnernerbe" and the ideological-political function of his folklore, in: Jacobeit, Wolfgang et al. (Eds.), Völkische Wissenschaft. Forms and tendencies of German and Austrian folklore in the first half of the 20th century, Vienna 1994, pp. 217-255, 219ff; Lerchenmüller, Joachim; Simon, Gerd, change of masks. How SS-Hauptsturmführer Schneider became the FRG university rector Schwerte and other stories about the agility of German science in the 20th century. With numerous documents and a hitherto unprinted text by Hans Schwerte from the most recent times, Tübingen 1999, p. 61ff.
[10] Derks, p. 87, this institute counts as part of the prehistory of the "Center for Netherlands Studies."
[11] "The general strategy in the" Holland Plan "with regard to research in scientific institutions was: gradual concentration on a few university institutions, accelerated Germanization, complete deconfessionalization and the growing influence of the SS." Derks, p. 92 Lerchenmüller / Simon, p. 177f., The passages printed, Plassmann's Holland Plan consisted primarily of observing and influencing the Dutch press in the National Socialist sense.
[12] Cf. Lademacher, Horst, Franz Petri on the completion of the 85th year of life, in: Westfälische Forschungen 38 (1988), pp. 303-308; Ders., Franz Petri zum Gedächtnis * February 22nd, 1903 + March 8th, 1993, in: Rheinische Vierteljahrsblätter 57 (1993), pp. VII-XIX; Ditt, Karl, The cultural space research between science and politics. The example of Franz Petri (1903-1993), in: Westfälische Forschungen 46 (1996), pp. 73-176. Fahlbusch joins the allegation of embezzlement with a special accusation against Ditt (“sins of omission”), for which Horst Lademacher defends against the attacks by Derks.
[13] In addition, the creation of the polders gave the Dutch administration the opportunity partly for racial selection and partly for the exploitation of labor due to the difficult working conditions. Derks, pp. 185f.
[14] For this purpose, z. B. heard the writings, in particular the multi-volume work by Henri Pirenne, Histoire de Belgique, Bruxelles 1922ff., In which he deals with the prehistory of Belgium into the Middle Ages, to thematize in their effect on German historiography. See also Schöttler, “Westforschung”, p. 225ff.
[15] Cf. Aubin, Hermann; Frings, Theodor; Müller, Josef, cultural currents and cultural provinces in the Rhineland. History. Language. Folklore, Bonn 1926, ND Darmstadt 1966; Ebert, Wolfgang; Frings, Theodor; Gleißner, Kate; Kötzschke, Rudolf; Streitberg, Gerhard, Cultural Areas and Cultural Movements in the Central German East, Halle 1936; Aubin, Hermann et al. (Eds.), Der Raum Westfalen, 6 volumes in 13 sub-volumes, Berlin 1931-1996.
[16] Cf. Ditt, pp. 90ff.
[17] Cf. B. Haubrichs, Wolfgang, Germania Submersa. On questions of the quantity and duration of Germanic settlement islands in Romanesque Lorraine and in southern Belgium, in: Burger, Harald; Maas, Alois; by Matt, Peter (eds.), Verborum Amor. Studies on the history and art of the German language. Festschrift for Stefan Sonderegger on the occasion of his 65th birthday, Berlin 1992, pp. 633-666; Ders., About the gradual consolidation of language boundaries. The example of the contact zones of Germania and Romania, in: Ders., Schneider, Reinhard (eds.), Borders and Border Regions. Frontières et régions frontières, Borders and Border Regions, Saarbrücken 1994, pp. 99-129; Brühl, Carlrichard, Germany-France. The birth of two peoples, Cologne 1990, p. 182ff .; see also the forthcoming work Dietz, Burkhard; Gabel, Helmut; Possible, Georg (ed.), Reach out to the west. The "West Research" of the ethnic-national sciences on the north-western European area (1919-1960), 2 volumes, Münster 2002.
[18] After referring to his own results on the Germanic traces in northern France and Wallonia, Petri sums up: “The fact, determined by modern race research, that Wallonia and the neighboring northern France today have a predominantly Nordic racial structure, fits in with the new [Steinbach's and Petris] view. According to her, Wallonia is not so much a Romanesque border region as a distinct Germanic-Romanesque borderland, whose population also has an important Germanic component in addition to its old prehistoric and Celto-Romanic bases, which should by no means be denied or reduced. "Franz Petri, Um the origin of the Walloons, in: Westland, Episode 1 (1943), p. 61, also printed in Derks, p. 268. Cf. also ibid .: “That the Walloon and northern French population have a much more important Germanic component than was previously accepted, it can already be seen today as a reliable national scientific result. It is confirmed by the racial biological recordings that are currently being carried out in Wallonia at the suggestion of the Reichsführer-SS. ”Derks, p. 268f. Cf. generally Ditt, p. 116f .; Schöttler “Westforschung”, p. 218ff.
[19] Derks 'statement that the reviewer made Petri “an innocent lamb and almost a Nazi victim” (p. 115) is absurd and, like Derks' ibid. Partly used as evidence, indicates difficulties in understanding the Germans Language.
[20] In 1937 Petri had turned down an opportunity offered by the Hamburg entrepreneur to set up a national political training and teaching facility as well as an institute for border and foreign Germanism, which would have brought him into close contact with the SS-led Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle. See Ditt, p. 94; Fahlbusch, pp. 60f. According to his personal file in the Federal Archives in Berlin-Zehlendorf, Petri had been a member of the NSDAP since 1937, but not the SS. According to his research on the early Middle Ages, Petri was able to claim that northern France, the Netherlands and Belgium were largely Germanic. This made possible a historical legitimation for an informal or formal “return” of this area to the German Reich in the sense of Volkish National Socialist representatives. There was no agreement on the future political rule and structure of this area or its sub-areas - vassal state, Reichsgaue, etc. -; Hitler had forbidden a public discussion of the political reorganization in the West. Petri's ideas about this can by no means be reduced to the greater Netherlands denominator (p. 96ff.), On the contrary, he was flexible in this regard.
[21] Conversely, the assertion of the continuity of “research on the West” from the German Empire to the Federal Republic of Germany belittles part of the corresponding work on the people and cultural areas as well as the science policy during the Third Reich.