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Honors Thesis Archive

Author Emily Wendel
Title Die Aufarbeitung der Vergangenheit”: The Complications of Vergangenheitsbewältigung in Post-Nazi Germany
Department Languages
Advisors Timothy Bennett, David Barry, and Robert Davis
Year 2008
Honors University Honors
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Abstract Essentially since 1945, Germans have struggled with issues both of national and personal responsibility for the events of the Holocaust and the Second World War. In an effort to alleviate the pain of the past, many, especially in the beginning, simply kept silent on the matter. But as writers and thinkers have begun to break this silence, a complex set of questions emerges. To what extent are the ordinary Germans who collaborated with the Nazis to be held accountable for their actions? What does it mean when we still love these perpetrators? And what shall we tell our children about their heritage and their stake in their nation's legacy? Through an analysis of works that grapple with these issues, I will attempt to understand the cultural phenomena that led to the Holocaust, as well as some of the philosophies that modern writer and theorists have submitted in response to such questions.

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