Bridges of Misunderstanding: William of Orange in Nazi Era Literature and its Aftermath (1933-1953)

Simon Richter


Because the 400th anniversary of the birth of William of Orange coincided with the beginning of the Nazi regime in 1933, a small surge of publications raised awareness in Germany of the history of the Dutch rebellion against Spain. For two decades, German writers across the ideological spectrum appropriated motifs from the life of William of Orange in order to represent and reflect on German-Netherlandic relations during the Nazi era. This article focuses in particular on the deployment of ‘Das Niederländische Gebet’ and the bridge motif, with an emphasis on works by Fritz von Unruh.


Willem van Oranje; William of Orange; Tachtigjarige Oorlog; Eighty Years War; Nederlands-Duitse betrekkingen; German-Netherlandic relations; brugmotief; bridge motif; Fritz von Unruh

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