Hitler’s coming to power in Germany had its key consequences upon the fate of the German minorities in Central and Eastern Europe. The German community in Romania constituted no exception. After 1933, a process of radicalization can be noticed in the case of the Transylvanian Saxons, one of the several German-speaking groups in Romania. The phenomenon has already been analyzed in its political and economic dimensions, yet not so much in its social ones. This article looks at the latter aspect, its argument being that the Nazification of the Transylvanian Saxon community can be best comprehended by using a conceptual framework developed by political scientist Donald Horowitz in the early 1970s. The analysis uses a series of contemporary sources (diaries, issues of the official periodical of the Lutheran Church in Transylvania, Kirchliche Blaumltter), but also a wide range of secondary sources, academic and literary. Consequently, the article shows that especially after 1933, the Lutheran affiliation, highly relevant for the production and reproduction of the traditional model of Transylvanian Saxon identity, shifted from the status of a criterion of identity to a mere identification indicium. At the same time, the attraction of a (Pan-) German identity, with its Nazi anchors, became stronger and the center of gravity for Transylvanian Saxon identity radically moved towards German ethnicity, in its National-Socialist understanding.
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