Life Reconstructed

Deborah Cohen

in The War Come Home

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2001 | ISBN: 9780520220089
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520923522 | DOI:
Life Reconstructed

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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George Grosz's bemedaled beggar has passed into the iconography of the Weimar Republic. On the streets of Germany's larger cities, disabled paupers in army uniforms were a common sight. They produced “like mushrooms after a warm rain,” during the revolution. The spectacle of “shiverers,” or men, who shook uncontrollably, brought traffic to a halt. As the Berliner Tageblatt's reporter explained, many passersby—unfamiliar to the sight of decorated beggars—gave generously. It was a matter of honor, the least that the nation could do for its victims. So inflamed was public sympathy that most panhandlers could ply their trade without interference. War-disabled members toured streets, spoke to beggars, and came away convinced. The broad majority had never seen combat, and those few who had been disabled in the war were not too ill to toil. At the Labor Ministry's invitation, war victims' organizations joined official efforts to eradicate begging.

Keywords: George Grosz; shiverers; Berliner Tageblatt; Labor Ministry; combat

Chapter.  15230 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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