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Colonial Pasts in Germany's Present

Jonathan Bach

” (demokratischer Grundkonsens). 3 I argue that colonial-era questions are acquiring the status of a new phase of coming-to-terms with the past in Germany alongside—and sometimes in tension with—the memory of the National Socialist and East German pasts, raising

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Innocence and the Politics of Memory

Jonathan Bach and Benjamin Nienass

” and “economic miracle” established a basis for a different form of reclaiming innocence, one roundly critiqued by Theodor W. Adorno in his essay “What Does Coming to Terms with the Past Mean?” 1 In the 1980s, Chancellor Helmut Kohl's famous

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From Final Depository to Memorial the History and Significance of the Jewish Museum in Prague

Dirk Rupnow

Very clearly, we are at present at a phase in which, on the one hand, countless new research projects with an abundance of sources on events in the Third Reich, on the policies of expropriation and annihilation are being pursued and published; and on the other hand, questions are being raised concerning the postwar culture of remembering and commemorating, on the way history has been written and society has dealt with what happened in the process that we have grown accustomed to calling ‘Auschwitz’ for short. This is happening above all based on Peter Novick’s study of how the Holocaust has been received in the U.S.A., and it is pointed out how remembrance after 1945 has been instrumentalized. The opposite pole to this is seen in a supposedly authentic remembering and coming to terms with the past.

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The Germans Must Have Done Something Right

Eric Langenbacher

Germany-watchers and many Germans have long been sour about the unified country. Often for well-founded reasons, there are few policy or cultural areas that have not been subjected to withering criticism: failed integration of immigrants, an antiquated political economy, insufficient coming-to-terms with the past, atrophied parties, or lackluster foreign policy. Nevertheless, the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Wall and unification is an appropriate moment to pause and reflect on the accomplishments of contemporary Germany—export champion, environmental pioneer, cultural leader, and staunch multilateral European. Despite all of the problems of the last twenty years and the daunting challenges ahead, perhaps Germans can dare some cautious optimism and even a sense of pride.

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Diversity in Germany: A Historical Perspective

Cornelia Wilhelm

This article explores the changing perception of "diversity" and "cultural difference" in Germany and shows how they were central in the construction of "self" and "other" throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries affecting minorities such as Jews, Poles, and others. It examines different levels of legal and political action toward minorities and immigrants in this process and explores how the perception and legal framework for the Turkish minority in the past sixty years was influenced by historical patterns of such perceptions and their memory. The article tries to shed some light on how the nature of coming-to-terms with the past ( Vergangenheitsbewältigung ) and the memory of the Holocaust have long prohibited a broader discussion on inclusion and exclusion in German society. It makes some suggestions as to what forced Germans in the postunification era to reconsider legislation, as well as society's approach to "self" and "other" under the auspices of the closing of the "postwar period" and a newly emerging united Europe.

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Adorno on the Airwaves: Feeling Reason, Educating Emotions

Anna Parkinson

In 1949, Jewish-German critical theorist Theodor W. Adorno, a member of the group of intellectuals now known as the Frankfurt School, returned to West Germany from exile in the USA. This article examines a lesser-known aspect of Adorno's participation in the West German public sphere: namely, his radio broadcasts around the topos of “eine Erziehung zur Mündigkeit” (a pedagogy fostering political maturity/autonomy). Adorno's critique of the medium of radio as an arm of the reified “culture industry” is well documented. What, then, are we to make of his sociopolitical contribution to the German public sphere in the form of over one hundred radio broadcasts in the late 1950s and 1960s? This article broaches the question by analyzing his now-canonical 1960 broadcast on Hessischen Rundfunk titled “Was bedeutet: Aufarbeitung der Vergangenheit?” (“What does Coming-to-Terms-with-the-Past Mean?”). Arguing for the centrality of affect for Adorno's postwar work, I demonstrate how he stages a pedagogy emphasizing the necessary relationship between reason and affect (Kant avec Freud) in achieving self-reflective thought and political autonomy. Finally, Adorno's earlier attack on music educational shows as “pseudo-democratic” (1938-1941 in Paul Lazarsfeld's Princeton Radio Research Project), complicates any straightforward elaboration of a postwar public pedagogy.

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Facing Hitler: German Responses to 'Downfall'

John Bendix

Bernd Eichinger's Der Untergang is the first all-German production in fifty years to feature Hitler in a full-length dramatic film. This article explores the choices and intentions of the producer/scriptwriter, aspects of German public opinion about Hitler, and the critical responses to what was widely seen as an effort to humanize Hitler on screen-though I argue it was ultimately more an effort to finally lay Hitler to rest.

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Book Reviews

Sandipan Mitra and Brooke Hypes

previous generation's complicity. As the discipline was coming to terms with the past, the Museum management tried hard to retrieve its holdings from the safer locations to where they were transported before the war and the allied powers that rounded them

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Decolonisation Matters

Patrícia Ferraz de Matos and Livio Sansone

of colonialism as regards architectural, historical, cultural and museum heritage. This process of coming to terms with the past has included discussions about the ownership of collections of objects (including human remains) that are in European

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Adopting a Resistance Lens

An Exploration of Power and Legitimacy in Transitional Justice

Julie Bernath and Sandra Rubli

. 10.1093/ijtj/ijr004 Elster , Jon . 1998 . “ Coming to Terms with the Past: A Framework for the Study of Justice in the Transition to Democracy .” European Journal of Sociology 39 , no. 1 : 7 – 48 . 10.1017/S0003975600007785 Extraordinary