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Anna Haag and her Secret Diary of the Second World War

A Democratic German Feminist’s Response to the Catastrophe of National Socialism


Edward Timms

How was it possible for a well-educated nation to support a regime that made it a crime to think for yourself? This was the key question for the Stuttgart-based author Anna Haag (1888–1982), the democratic feminist whose anti-Nazi diaries are analysed in this book. Like Victor Klemperer, she deconstructed German political propaganda day by day, giving her critique a gendered focus by challenging the ethos of masculinity that sustained the Nazi regime. This pioneering study interprets her diaries, secretly written in twenty notebooks now preserved at the Stuttgart City Archive, as a fascinating source for the study of everyday life in the Third Reich. The opening sections sketch the paradigms that shaped Haag’s creativity, analysing the impact of the First World War and the feminist and pacifist commitments that influenced her literary and journalistic writings. Extensive quotations from the diaries are provided, with English translations, to illustrate her responses to the cataclysms that followed the rise of Hitler, from the military conquests and Jewish deportations to the devastation of strategic bombing. The book concludes with a chapter that traces the links between Haag’s critique of military tyranny and her contribution to post-war reconstruction.
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Anna Haag

Archival Sources

For a list of papers in the Anna Haag archive, see Stadtarchiv Stuttgart, Bestände, Findbuch-Net, nichtamtliche Überlieferung, Nachlässe, Haag.

The primary source for the present book are Anna Haag’s Kriegstagebücher. For research purposes the twenty handwritten diaries have been scanned (with the kind permission of Sabine Brügel-Fritzen and the cooperation of the Stadtarchiv) and renumbered as follows.

The pages of the original diaries are not numbered, but almost all entries are dated, so it is possible to give a precise date for almost every quotation.

The page numbers (following the HA number) cited from the scanned version do not correspond to the number of pages in each diary for the following reasons: two diary pages are normally included in a single scan, but some pages had to be scanned several times to accommodate folded-in newspaper cuttings. In addition, almost every diary contains folded-in loose-leaf documents, such as letters, which are included in the scans.

For example HA 3, with 44 numbered scans, records the contents of a securely bound notebook with 72 pages of closely written diary entries covering the period 07.05.1941 – 23.06.1941, together with loose-leaf additions.

The second primary source is the typescript ‘Kriegstagebuch’: Kopie Nr. 1 is perserved at the Stuttgart Stadtarchiv: Lfd.-Nummer 1a

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