Narratives of Trauma
Edited by Helmut Schmitz and Annette Seidel-Arpacı
Over the last decade German culture has been engaged in a re-examination of the traumatic events of the Second World War and their post-war legacy in the public and private sphere. This shift in German memory culture from a focus on responsibility for the Holocaust to a focus on wartime suffering has attracted a lot of critical attention over the past decade, in both Cultural and Literary Studies and History. This volume brings together British, German, Dutch and American scholars from the fields of Cultural Studies, History and Sociology to address the national and international significance of discourses of ‘German wartime suffering’ in post-war and contemporary Germany. The focus of this interdisciplinary volume is both on the historical roots of the ‘Germans as victims’ narratives and the forms of their continuing existence in contemporary public memory and culture. The first three sections of this volume explore the conditions of German victim discourses in a variety of media and public arenas from historiography, sociology, literature and film to monuments, civil defence bunkers and local public memory. The final section sets the contemporary re-articulation of German wartime suffering in an international context with respect to its reception and its reflection in both Western and Eastern Europe and Israel.