‘The Truth About the Concentration Camps’. Werner Schäfer’s Anti-Brown Book and the Debate on Early Nazi Terror
journal contributionposted on 14.03.2016, 12:01 by Paul James Moore
This article examines the international debate on the violence of the first year of the National Socialist regime by focusing on the Anti-Brown Book written by storm troop leader Werner Schäfer in 1934. Schäfer’s text is unique as the only book-long propaganda justification of a concentration camp to be written during the lifetime of the Third Reich by a serving commandant. Analysing this text in depth for the first time, the article presents the book as an example of low-level initiative in the shaping of the official narrative of early Nazi terror and as a riposte to critical publicity on the concentration camps in particular. It argues that the first year of the regime saw a dialogue between the regime and its enemies in which the meaning of Nazi violence was contested and the public face of the camps was shaped by multiple agencies of the nascent Third Reich.