Twelve German Cities Confront the Nazi Past
Publication Year: 2008
Published by: University of Michigan Press
Over the course of conceiving and completing the present study, we have bene‹ted from the aid and support of a variety of institutions and individuals whom we would like to take the opportunity to thank. First, we would like to thank the more than ‹fty respondents to our original call for papers in 2004. Although we unfortunately could not include all of them ...
Introduction: Urban Space and the Nazi Past in Postwar Germany /
Few themes have preoccupied recent scholarship on postwar Germany as much as the nation’s long struggle to “come to terms” with its National Socialist past. During the last decade and a half, a massive flood of scholarly and journalistic studies has chronicled the evolution of this confrontation with the Nazi legacy ...
Part 1: Sites of Reconstruction: Between Reclaiming and Evading the Past
The Politics of New Beginnings: The Continued Exclusion of the Nazi Past in Dresden's Cityscape
Victor Klemperer was one of just a few dozen Jews left in Dresden when the city was heavily bombed on February 13 and 14, 1945. The ensuing firestorm, which destroyed fifteen square kilometers of the inner city, including such well-known sites as the Zwinger (with its art galleries), the Frauenkirche, the castle, the opera building, and the art academy, ironically saved ...
Reconciling Competing Pasts in Postwar Cologne
The most famous literary figure in postwar Cologne was the novelist Heinrich B
Evading What the Nazis Left Behind: An Ethnographic and Phenomenological Examination of Historic Preservation in Postwar Rostock
This essay outlines how a medium-sized city in the far north of the former East Germany has (or has not) grappled with the traces of the National Socialist legacy in the built environment. In the case of Rostock, we can see a corpus of myths arising that subtly casts locals as the helpless victims of serial dictatorships and external acts of aggression. Rostock, in the state
Part 2: Sites of New Construction: Industrial Cities and the Embrace of Modernism
Memento Machinae: Engineering the Past in Wolfsburg
When the Wolfsburg city hall was inaugurated in 1958, local politicians praised their building as a symbol of renewal and commitment to democratic principles. At the ceremony, the Wolfsburg city fathers emphasized the openness, transparency, rational planning, and modesty that characterized their new Rathaus. As visitors mounted the steps, they saw six ...
Inventing Industrial Culture in Essen / Kathleen James-Chakraborty
Discussions of memory in relation to the German cityscape typically focus on buildings with obvious connections either to the Nazis or to their victims. 1 Limiting our consideration of memory to such sites, however, ignores the multiplicity of ways in which the Third Reich permeated daily life and in which amnesia about the past continues to color German urban ...
Part 3: Perpetrator Sites: Representing Nazi Criminality
The Reich Party Rally Grounds Revisited: The Nazi Past in Postwar Nuremberg
Few topics loom as large in the recent literature on German architecture and urban planning as the impact of the National Socialist past on postwar design practice. While most scholarship has concentrated on Berlin, the ongoing presence of perpetrators in the postwar era, the use of prominent Nazi sites, and the memorialization of specific past events have also ...
Memory and the Museum: Munich's Struggle to Create a Documentation Center for the History of National Socialism
Among all German cities, Munich has arguably had the most dif‹culty during the postwar period in coming to terms with the legacy of the Third Reich. From the moment World War II ended in 1945, the citizens of the former Nazi “capital of the movement” (Hauptstadt der Bewegung) had to live down the ignominious fact that their city was the birthplace of the ...
Concrete Memory: The Struggle over Air-Raid and Submarine Shelters in Bremen after 1945
Walking through the Bürgerpark behind Bremen’s central train station, one sooner or later strolls past two massive concrete cubes lying close to one another. Visitors often stop for a moment to listen to jazz music emanating from somewhere deep inside one of the structures. Graffiti on one of them testifies to someone’s self-hatred: “I hate myself and want to die” (Kurt Cobain). Most people are ...
Restored, Reassessed, Redeemed: The SS Past at the Collegiate Church of St. Servatius in Quedlinburg
Situated at the foothills of the Harz Mountains along the Bode River, the town of Quedlinburg appears as a medieval time capsule, as if it had sidestepped the last six or seven centuries of advancements in building technology and urban planning. Crooked door jambs, crumbling clay shingles, and modern shop windows are the only indicators of the passage of time. Narrow cobblestone ...
Part 4: Jewish Sites: Commemorating the Holocaust
The Politics of Antifascism: Historic Preservation, Jewish Sites, and the Rebuilding of Potsdam's Altstadt / Michael Meng
In June 1970, East Germany’s Association of Jewish Communities sent aletter to the mayor of Potsdam requesting funds for the preservation of thecity’s historic Jewish cemetery and the erection of a small Holocaust mon-ument on the cemetery’s grounds. City of‹cials responded that they couldnot afford any preservation efforts at the cemetery; the ongoing rebuilding...
Marking Absence: Remembrance and Hamburg's Holocaust Memorials / Natasha Goldman
Recent Holocaust memorialization in Germany has embraced the visualtrope of the countermonument, or memorials conceived to “challenge theconventional premises of the monument.”1 While traditional memorialsoften displace memory with ‹gural representations aiming to either con-sole or redeem viewers, countermonuments request the viewer’s direct...
The New B
Frankfurt am Main presents itself to visitors as a bustling commercial andbanking center. The city’s economic dynamism is re›ected in its glass andsteel skyscrapers, all of which give shape to an urban silhouette unlike anyother German city. Already in the early postwar years, Frankfurt, as thebase of the American armed forces and as the unof‹cial capital of the...
Epilogue: The View from Berlin / Brian Ladd
Two centuries ago, German intellectuals, grasping for solid ground amidfearful upheavals, persuaded much of the world of the power of groupidentities rooted in place by ancestral traditions. In nineteenth-centuryCentral Europe, many of these local identities were put in the service ofdestroying itself in the twentieth century, its national identity has per-...