Nazi Biograms


Theodore Abel, an American sociologist, collected hundreds of biographies written by Germans who joined the Nazi party before 1933 by cleverly staging a contest. Together with a couple of family members and friends, I converted all 579 biograms into machine-readable formats. Around half of the biograms where type-written and converted using the ABBYY FineReader 14 whereas the hand-written biograms were all converted manually by reading every letter and retyping it. In addition, we generated a “meta-dataset” collecting information closely resembling what Abel presented in his book (i.e., social class background of each individual, marital status, date of joining the party, war experience, etc.) as well as information regarding the number of missing or unreadable words.

The letters as well as the meta dataset can be accessed here.


Spörlein, Pfuhlmann, Albert and Spörlein. 2020. Machine-readable Nazi Biograms originally collected by Theodore Abel. Harvard Dataverse, DOI.