Living Space

Wendy Lower

in The Oxford Handbook of Holocaust Studies

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199211869
Published online January 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

Living Space

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Central to the ideology of Nazi imperialism was the joining of race and space. The ‘New Order’ the Nazis sought entailed a racial classification and ‘cleansing’ of Europe, especially its eastern reaches, which Nazi leaders envisioned as the ideal German ‘living space’ (Lebensraum). Yet between Hitler's utopian vision of the eastern territories as a ‘Garden of Eden’ and the implementation of the Holocaust and Nazi resettlement programs in Poland, the Baltic states, Belorussia, and Ukraine lay many gray areas. This article examines the interrelationship of Nazi expansionism, anti-Jewish policies, and schemes to resettle ethnic Germans (Volksdeutsche) in eastern Europe in an effort to assess the extent to which the history of the Shoah should be understood in the context of Nazi dreams and schemes of Lebensraum.

Keywords: Nazi imperialism; racial classification; racial cleansing; Holocaust; resettlement programs; expansionism; Shoah; Lebensraum

Article.  7094 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Religious Studies ; Judaism and Jewish Studies

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