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An American Witness in Nazi Frankfurt

The Diaries of Robert W. Heingartner, 1928-1937

Andrew Bonnell

The diaries of Robert W. Heingartner, a US consular official posted to Frankfurt am Main, provide an account of the rise of Nazism in that city from 1928 to the end of 1937, when the regime appeared to have stabilized itself, written by a close and careful observer. Heingartner describes the impact of the Depression on the life of the city, and closely monitors the political crises that accompanied the rise of the Nazi party from a fringe radical group to becoming the ruling party in 1933. He documents the establishment of Nazi rule in Frankfurt from 1933 on, including economic and social conditions, and the persecution of political opponents and Frankfurt’s Jewish population, with whose plight he was confronted as a consular official. He also relates the response to the regime on the part of ordinary Germans whose lives were characterized by shortages, rumours, grumbling and denunciations.

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