Everyday Life In Nazi Germany: 33 Photographs Of “Normal” Life In The Third Reich

Published March 3, 2017
Updated November 16, 2020

These seldom-seen photos reveal what "normal" life in Nazi Germany looked like for most citizens as the Third Reich rose to power.

Germans Waving Nazi Flags
Boys In Tent In Nazi Germany
Crowd Doing Nazi Salute
Nazi Kids On A Train
Everyday Life In Nazi Germany: 33 Photographs Of “Normal” Life In The Third Reich
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Life has a way of forging on — even in the face of evil. A new political regime may present and enact policies that harm many, but for those who benefit from the policy or regime (or at least are not immediately affected by them), many just wake up, get ready, and go about their days.

While the Nazis, for example, perpetrated atrocities against Jews and others they deemed second-class citizens, many other Germans were simply living their lives.

They went to school, joined clubs, got married, went to work, went shopping... They did everything that every normal person does – but they did it before the backdrop of one of the darkest periods in history.

Yet in the shadows of everyday life in Nazi Germany, horror became quotidian.

Government officials indoctrinated children as school curriculums were shifted to push the radical new political agenda. Propaganda films took over classrooms, and teachers who stepped out of line risked being reported.

Worse yet, families deemed undesirable were marked and ushered into ghettos in Germany's occupied territories. Their shops were vandalized and they were harassed on the streets. The disabled were forcibly sterilized. Millions of people were forced into work camps and ultimately exterminated.

Soon, war broke out. Husbands rushed off to the front lines to fight and die while their wives and sometimes children worked in factories, hid in shelters, or escaped into the countryside and even abroad.

But throughout it all, life went on. The people of Germany lived in and often simply accepted the new normal that came with the rise of fascism –- a state of normalcy that, if the war had ended differently, could have become normal, everyday life for much of the rest of Europe as well.

The photos above reveal what "normal" life looked like on the German homefront both before and during the war, as the horrors of the Nazi regime, for many, only gradually began to sink in.

Intrigued by this look at life in Nazi Germany? For more glimpses into life during World War II, have a look at 44 Holocaust photos from the tragic to the inspiring, as well as an overview of Japan's World War II-era reign of terror.

Mark Oliver
Mark Oliver is a writer and teacher, and father whose work has appeared on The Onion's StarWipe, Yahoo, and Cracked.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
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Oliver, Mark. "Everyday Life In Nazi Germany: 33 Photographs Of “Normal” Life In The Third Reich." AllThatsInteresting.com, March 3, 2017, https://allthatsinteresting.com/life-in-nazi-germany. Accessed May 24, 2024.