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Special Interests

Gesine Gerhard's Special Interests

My research focuses on the Nazi period. I am interested in how food policies expedited the murderous campaigns of the Nazis during the Second World War.

After the invasion of the Soviet Union, Germany took millions of Soviet soldiers as prisoners. Within six months, two million had died of starvation and diseases. The two men in charge of agriculture and food during the war were Richard Walter Darre and Herbert Backe. I am trying to understand the relationship between the two men, their motivations and responsibilities. 

In the archives I found policy papers, memos, reports and letters that provide ample evidence. I was also able to read the diaries of Herbert Backe’s wife and talk to their children. The richness of the sources promises a better understanding of Backe’s role in the Nazi administration. I am currently writing a political biography of Herbert Backe.  I am currently writing a monograph on food and food policy in Nazi Germany.