Download Contemporary Germany and the Nazi Legacy: Remembrance, by C. Pearce PDF

By C. Pearce

This e-book examines a number of public debates at the Nazi legacy in Germany on the grounds that Schröder's SDP-Green coalition got here to energy in 1998. A imperative subject matter is the 'dialectic of normality' wherein references to Nazi previous effect upon current normality. The booklet is a priceless source for college students of up to date German politics, historical past and tradition.

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Additional resources for Contemporary Germany and the Nazi Legacy: Remembrance, Politics and the Dialectic of Normality (New Perspectives in German Studies)

Sample text

During the presidential campaigns that year, formerly concealed details about the Nazi past of candidate Kurt Waldheim came under public scrutiny. Waldheim attracted particular controversy for asserting that he had only ‘done his duty’ in the German Wehrmacht. Nonetheless, he was elected President of Austria, which caused an international furore. The situation in Europe is changing, however, with increased moves to open up the respective ‘black boxes’ of national memory. 12 In 2000 the country set up the ‘Austrian Fund for Reconciliation, Peace and Cooperation’ to compensate former forced labourers.

Diner draws the distinction between ethnic ethnos (exclusive, based on shared origins and a (fixed) identity rooted in the distant past) and political ethnos (inclusive, based on (changing) values and ideology). 7 The response was to establish a range of what could be termed anti-memory narratives. This involved a range of identities, myths and instrumentalisations, which served to set the new state in a positive light whilst simultaneously creating distance from the past. The first and most obvious came with the onset of the Cold War, which ‘offered postwar Germans an opportunity to drape amnesia about Nazi crimes in the cloak of an eerily familiar sounding struggle against Communism’ (Herf 1997: 261).

National resistance became the stuff of new national myths and the concentration camps were ‘re-created’ as a site of national martyrdom rather than Jewish genocide. These countries had not only been occupied but also liberated by foreign armies, which implied their own helplessness. Hence, ‘Mourning without triumphalism would have undermined post-war national recovery’ (Lagrou 1997: 196). As these countries saw the return of more repatriates than Holocaust survivors, national memory was dominated by accounts of displaced workers and prisoners of war, even though the number of Jewish deportees had been far higher than the number of political deportees or forced labourers.

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