Liberty Is Dead
A Canadian in Germany, 1938
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: Wilfrid Laurier University Press
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In February 1938, Adolf Hitler marched into Austria. At the same time a Canadian lawyer of German background was planning an extended trip to that troubled part of the world. Franklin Wellington Wegenast spent about four months over the spring and summer of 1938 in Europe. He took his car with him from Canada and drove from town to town, and...
1 Franklin Wellington Wegenast, 1876–1942
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Franklin Wellington Wegenast was born in the town of Waterloo, Waterloo County, Ontario, in June 1876. He was the oldest surviving child of Martin S. Wegenast and his wife, Dinah Sauer. The family was entirely of German descent, but Franklin’s parents were both born in North America and raised in Waterloo...
2 Newspaper Information in the 1930s on Germans and the German Situation
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Wegenast’s journal should be read with consideration of what he, a Canadian at home, read in the news about Germans and German sentiment in the late 1930s. News reporting and particularly the tenor of that reporting must have shaped his views before he took the trip, and he probably judged his experiences in Europe against what...
3 The Diary
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Well, I am away. After several tentative starts I have now got as far as the Wentworth Arms. But even this much is worthwhile. The moment I was actually off … I began to feel a certain sense of lightness—of relief—a funny sort of curly springiness in my insides—a negation of fatigue. Dr. Oille is right: These are my words but in effect what he said: It is fatigue,...
4 The Sigfrid Schmidt File
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On the 5th May, 1938, as I drew up before the Cathedral in Reims, it occurred to me to have a snapshot of myself with the car in front of the Cathedral. I looked around for someone to take the picture, when I noticed a young man coming across the square. I walked up to him and explained what I wanted. He said he would be glad to take the picture; he had some experience with photography himself.…
5 Germans and Germany in 1938
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The letters and diary of Franklin W. Wegenast offer a thoughtful contemporary look at Europe in early 1938, before the final slide into war, through the eyes of an outsider, a well-educated German Canadian, and a man who read such books as Mein Kampf and Myth of the Twentieth Century—works that formed the backbone of Nazi thinking. Newspaper...
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Publication Year: 2012