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Bradley Nichols, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, History

My dissertation concentrates on the so-called National Socialist “hunt for good blood in the East,” particularly the SS Re-Germanization Procedure (WED) for racially valuable Poles in occupied Poland and Germany from 1940-1945. These “re-Germanizable Poles” were sent to live with families in Germany in order to be rehabilited according to National Socialist principles, in order to reverse their supposed Polonization in a purely German environment. I examine this topic on the basis of an institutional history of the WED in combination with a study of the cultural and historical significance of “lost German blood,” as well as Reich German perceptions regarding foreign Germans and Poles during the Third Reich. My methodology analyzes a reciprocal relationship among the people involved in the program (SS functionaries, “re-Germanizable” Poles, and ordinary Reich Germans). Moreover, it places this program within the framework of colonial and racial policy in the Nazi state, as well as continuities with earlier German imperialism in the East. I propose that the processes of National Socialist ‘cumulative radicalization’ during the Second World War in this case arose from everyday experiences in the Reich and occupied Poland. This resulted from the perceived failure of “re-Germanizable” Poles to behave like Germans, and their supposed failure to renounce Polentum. My study therefore examines the connection between cultural fantasy and historical consciousness on the one hand, and the relationship between everyday life, the practice of assimilation, racial classification, and mass murder on the other.