How was life for neutral citizens in Nazi-occupied Europe?

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Hyus
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How was life for neutral citizens in Nazi-occupied Europe?

Post by Hyus » 07 Sep 2020 19:41

I'd like to learn a bit of detail on what the daily lives of neutral citizens were like within Nazi-occupied territories between 1939-45. I definitely know there were some who lived in occupied regions (Irish in France and Swedes in Norway are two examples I've come across so far). I imagine the conditions for neutral residents varied between regions, but I'm interested in the lives of any neutral citizens in any part of Europe under Nazi occupation.

For example, what sort of employment they were allowed (or forbidden) to take, whether they had to carry any daily identification, whether any were involved in acts of resistance or collaboration in the places they lived in, etc.

Carl Schwamberger
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Re: How was life for neutral citizens in Nazi-occupied Europe?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 09 Sep 2020 03:04

There are some hints in Joseph Harschs book 'Pattern of Conquest' He wrote a series of reports of the Christian Science Monitor on conditions in Germany, France, Belgium, and Netherlands during the autumn and winter of 1940-1941. Those describe the rationing systems, blackmarkets, currency manipulations of Germany, and availability of food, necessities, and consumer goods. As journalist of a neutral nation, the US, Harsch was subject to blandishments and describes assorted ways the Gobbels organization tried to influence his writing. It appears much of his information on the black market originated with nazis trying to steer him into thinking Germany in December 1940 was a fountain of luxuries.

Gertrude Stein, an US citizen, and Jew by nazi definition, was able to survive the war in France, unmolested by the nazis. A admirer in the Vichy government, Bernard Fay, was able to keep her out of the extermination camps and in her rural home. In return she translated Vichy documents and propaganda in to English and made pro Vichy statements for public consumption.

Ford Motor Company, Dupont Corp, Chase Bank (Rockafellers), Davis Oil, and others still had representatives & employees in Europe & the nazi government alternately sucked up to them and dropped hints of threats. Most departed by mid 1941 as it became difficult to continue business in occupied Europe. 'Lisbon: War in the Shadows of the City of Light, 1939-1945' describes the mass of neutrals citizens and refugees exiting Europe through Portugal.
Hyus wrote:
07 Sep 2020 19:41
...

For example, what sort of employment they were allowed (or forbidden) to take, whether they had to carry any daily identification, whether any were involved in acts of resistance or collaboration in the places they lived in, etc.
Accurate identification documents were required of everyone. Even homeless tramps sleeping under bridges were routinely checked for their papers.

Wordsworth
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Re: How was life for neutral citizens in Nazi-occupied Europe?

Post by Wordsworth » 09 Sep 2020 17:51

Carl, I read "Lisbon" earlier this year and found it helpful, too.

Hyus, William Shirer's Berlin Diary gives some insight into American journalists living in Germany during the '30s. They had to have ID, they had ration cards when the war started and could be ejected if their stories were slanted too much against the Third Reich.

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fusilier1944
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Re: How was life for neutral citizens in Nazi-occupied Europe?

Post by fusilier1944 » 20 Sep 2020 02:20

There is some mention of these types of accounts in the book “Travels in the Reich, 1933-1945: Foreign Authors Report from Germany” by Oliver Lubrich. I recall one reference to a Swedish diplomat in Germany but it’s been years since I read this book. Though this book is only indirectly related to your interest it may shed some light on the topic.

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