British-German relations have undergone a considerable transformation since 1945 with both countries having to adapt to significant changes in their own status, as well as a very different international environment. Germany's status as a morally and militarily defeated and occupied power in 1945 is in stark contrast to the confident role it is playing at the beginning of the new millennium when—sixty years after the end of World War II—the German chancellor for the first time took part in the VE-Day celebrations of the victors. This article analyzes recent dynamics of collective memory in both countries and examine if and to what extent their collective memories play a role in British-German relations.
The Federal Republic of Germany—both before and after 1989—has been influenced deeply by collective memories of the Nazi period and the Holocaust, a seemingly "unmasterable past." In a first phase after unification, memory trends, which had their origin in the mid 1980s, continued, but a second period, beginning around the 1999 move of the capital back to Berlin, however, witnessed the erosion of this older trend and the delayed rise of new memory dynamics. Substantively, there have been three vectors of memory concerning Nazi crimes, German suffering, and the period of division, especially regarding the German Democratic Republic. In this article, I outline the major collective memory dynamics and debates, first from a qualitative and then from a more quantitative perspective where I analyze the holdings of the German National Library. I conclude that an intense period of memory work characterized the postunification years, but the peak of concern was reached several years ago and the German future will be much less beholden to the past. Given inevitable normalizing trends and the unintended consequences of the hegemony of Holocaust memory, Germany's difficult historical legacy increasingly appears to be disappearing or even mastered.
“At the end of October 1939, the French sociologist Maurice Halbwachs,” the founder of collective memory studies, “visited the convent of the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion and looked at the excavations under it” ( Lemire 2017: 56 ). A few years
Globalizing Transmission through Localized Experience
The articles in this issue highlight the relationship between collective memory and tourism. In what ways are practices of collective remembering implicated with those of tourism? Where do collective memory scholarship and tourism studies meet? How might the two interdisciplinary academic fields be shaped through each other’s concepts? We suggest that experiencing the collective past is integral to specific forms of tourism, particularly what is called ‘heritage tourism’. So, too, are certain kinds of public practices of collective remembering increasingly connected with the tourism industry. In the absence of, or complementary to, financial support for the historic preservation efforts, the entrepreneurial approach to the collective past turns objects of such memory into tourist attractions to keep them economically viable. Thinking about collective remembering in relation to tourism directs our analytical focus to the authority of experiencing the past in a specific tourist place in the present. It centres our attention on what is involved in making this experience possible.
Leah Rosen and Ruth Amir
This study is part of a wider research, which examines different strategies of exclusion and inclusion in public discourse and in the construction of collective memory in Israel. At the beginning of the 1930s, following the great economic crisis and the rise of National Socialism in Germany, a plan was conceived to send Jewish German youth to Palestine. Thus began the Project of Youth Aliyah, and with it the debate within the Zionist Movement and the Yishuv in Palestine on the proper station of immigrants in the emerging Israeli national identity. We characterize the discourse on the young refugees in the 1930s by highlighting two issues: first, the aims of the project for the emigration of Jewish German youth; and secondly, the national identity which should be inculcated in these young immigrants.
During the course of the 2006 Soccer World Cup, Germans started to celebrate a “new patriotism.” As the construction of national identity is inseparable in Germany from the Nazi past, this occurrence can be considered an indicator of an altered relationship to this past. This article examines these changes by focusing on a nationally recognized site of remembrance, the former Nazi Party Rally Grounds in Nuremberg, where five matches of the World Cup were played. The convergence of site and event evokes contradictions and ambiguities, such as the encounter of the opposed needs of sports and remembrance at the same location. It shows what problems arise at a site of national collective memory today, when the role of the national collective is challenged by developments like European integration, migration within and to Europe, and the on-going effects of globalization.
Despite its highly visible physical reunification, Berlin has social fault lines that seriously challenge the city?s integration. This article reviews the multiple cleavages that crisscross Berlin?s social fabric and assesses whether and how these divides are being bridged. East-West, neighborhood, religious, national/ethnic, and socioeconomic fractures remain wide. Even the social construction of the city?s history and the embedding of collective memory in the built environment are occasions for division. Hopeful signs of increasing social integration, however, are found in the new memorials, creative multicultural forms, vibrant and diverse immigrant neighborhoods, ethnic intermarriage, and other indicators. Under conditions of severe fiscal crisis, policies such as housing renovation, the Social City Program, local nonprofit labor market initiatives, and expanded language instruction are among the deliberate attempts to promote social integration in the "New" Berlin.
This article examines post 1989 Polish literary production that addresses German-Polish history and border relations in the aftermath of World War II and participates in the German-Polish dialogue of reconciliation. I consider the methodological implications of border space and spatial memory for the analysis of mass displacements in the German-Polish border region with particular attention to spatiocultural interstitiality, deterritorialization, unhomeliness, and border identity. Focusing on two representative novels, Stefan Chwin's Death in Danzig and Olga Tokarczuk's House of Day, House of Night, I argue that these authors' attention to geospatiality, border space, and displacement forms a distinct characteristic of Polish border narratives. Chwin's and Tokarczuk's construction of interstitial border spaces reflects a complex dynamic between place, historical memory, and self-identification while disrupting and challenging the unitary mythologies of the nation. With their fictional re-imagining of wartime and postwar German-Polish border region, these writers participate in the politics of collective memory of the border region and the construction and articulation of the Polish perspective that shapes the discourse of memory east of the border.
Mark A. Wolfgram
Alon Confino, Germany as a Culture of Remembrance: Promises and Limits of Writing History (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006)
Wulf Kansteiner, In Pursuit of German Memory: History, Television, and Politics after Auschwitz (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2006)
The Presence of the Past in the Era of the Nation-State
a multiplicity of autonomous nation-states defined by their ethnicity in a forced movement of peoples the likes of which the world had never seen before. This special issue examines how individual and collective memories, affective states, and