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Voices from the Rubble Society: "Operation Gomorrah" and its Aftermath


In late July 1943, much of Hamburg was destroyed in British and American air raids. In the so-called firestorm, about 35,000 of the city's inhabitants perished. A research project conducted by psychoanalysts from the Hamburg University Medical Center and historians from the Research Institute for Contemporary History analyzes the impact these experiences had on individuals, their children and grandchildren. Drawing on narrative interviews as main sources, this project focuses on the memories of those affected by the bombings. The research takes place at a time when the last generation of Holocaust survivors is slowly leaving the sphere of public attention, and some Germans belonging to this age group who were not persecuted by National-socialism apparently feel forced to ascertain their identity as victims—victims of the war. This article is primarily interested in the attitudes toward Nazism gleaned from these narratives.