Herr Groll und die ungarische Tragödie (German Edition)
Greater stylistic differences and much more time separate these two books than separate the two books of Winterreise. The second Italian set has a different mood and certainly a different style of piano accompaniment. As the work is usually given with an interval, it seems only wise to allow those twenty minutes to stand for the five-year gap between the two groups of songs. This seemed a good idea at the time, but I am now convinced that the composer knew exactly what he was doing when he made his own order for publication.
For each of the two books Wolf chooses a wonderful motto song, and for each of them a high-spirited virtuoso finish. Throughout there are subtle juxtapositions of key, metre and tempo to provide contrast and relief, except where the composer wishes to suggest a link when certain songs seem to glide into each other. It was the late Walter Legge who impressed on me during long sessions with my young colleagues in as well as with Schwarzkopf in that of all composers Hugo Wolf was master, if not of his own sad destiny, then of his songs.
His relationships with publishers were fraught with difficulty precisely because he was so punctilious about the exact pagination of his music. If he had a recital programme printed he supervised each detail of it, including the flowers which embellished the foot of each page. His relationship with singers whom he regarded as mostly stupid was always tense because he demanded absolute fidelity to his intentions.
He was unquestionably a tyrant in matters musical and Legge continued this tradition with great relish, arriving at my door to coach the young team with a cigar in one hand and a metronome in the other, both instruments of torture in their various ways. I am extremely grateful to him now, however, because he showed us that, in terms of his own music, Wolf knew best. This is the way the composer carefully planned to present his work to posterity. I confess to one departure from this which I think has a certain musicological validity. I have presented a performance of the cycle in Wigmore Hall, and again at the Walton Estate on Ischia, in which the songs were performed in the order in which they were composed.
This order has the advantage of course of not mixing songs from the two periods. Jahrhunderts und italienischer Pasticcios stellt. Nur ein- oder zweimal erlaubt ihnen der Komponist, sich direkt aneinander zu wenden. Die zweite italienische Sammlung hat eine andere Stimmung und zweifellos eine andere Begleitung. Wolfs Beziehungen zu seinen Verlegern waren problematisch, eben weil er bei der genauen Paginierung seiner Musik so pedantisch war. Update Required To play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin.
West German discussions of the meaning and significance of resistance focused not on the opposition of Communists, a legacy claimed by those other Germans across the border in the East, but on the assassination attempt on Hitler of 20 July , and on groups with no specific political affiliation like the White Rose. This version of the last years of the war provided proof that Germans had demonstrated their eagerness to liberate themselves from the Nazi yoke well before they were liberated by the Allies.
For millions of evacuees, driven from their homes by falling bombs, accounting for the past involved lobbying for victim status and demanding state assistance to gain new housing and a fresh start. As genera- tional conflicts emerged by the mids, public concern about disaf- fected youth was colored by a past in which discontent had steered young people to the extremist solutions offered by National Socialism and Com- munism.
The past loomed large in all discussions of these key social policy questions. This has been demonstrated in important recent works by Pertti Ahonen, who describes the contin- uing influence of expellee organizations on West German foreign pol- icy,59 and Frank Biess, who offers an insightful account of the social and political reintegration of returning POWs in East and West Germany.
Shifting the focus from what West Germans should have remembered or discussed—the critical mode of Adorno and the Mitscherlichs—to what they did remember reveals that a selective past, a past of German suf- fering, was in fact ubiquitous in the s. East Germans, like West Germans, confronted a task of crafting integrative founding myths and incorporating into a new nation a population that had enthusiastically supported National So- cialism.
In the German Democratic Republic, the war in the east was a war of liberation in which a triumphant Red Army destroyed not German home- lands but German fascism; rather than clearing eastern Europe of Ger- mans, it cleared the way for socialism. Soviets were saviors, not terror- ists; they did not initiate, but ended, suffering. In the view of the East German state, German POWs in the Soviet Union were the beneficiaries of an antifascist education, and the most attentive students were immediately qualified for jobs building an an- tifascist Germany.
Just as Germans, East and West, pursued different paths of po- litical and economic reconstruction after the war, so too did they con- struct different versions of the past. Although the primary concern of this study is to illuminate how West Germans remembered key parts of the Second World War in the s, it also offers a perspective on the politics of commemoration in the decades that followed. Memories of German victimization, dominant in the s, were challenged by ac- counts in which Nazi crimes came to the fore. Seen against the background of certain forms of public memory in the s, the themes of German victimization that surfaced in the s were not particularly novel; rather, they represented the forceful return of what had never been completely repressed.
The German search for a usable past is not at an end. This book adds to this agenda the need for a clearer understanding of how Ger- mans transformed their pasts into public memory in the early history of the Federal Republic. In his opening address to the newly elected West German parliament in September , Chancellor Konrad Adenauer looked ahead to the fu- ture, but he did not avoid the past of National Socialism and the Second World War. His allusions to the anti-Semitic crimes of Nazi Germany were made in the context of a far more detailed and explicit reckoning of non-Jewish victims of the war.
By the late s, the western Allies had released all the German soldiers they had taken captive during the war; thus, POWs not accounted for were most likely in the Soviet Union. Nor should West Germans forget those Germans still held against their will by Communist governments in Poland, Czechoslovakia, and East Prussia, now under Soviet control. Forcefully separated from their homes and possessions, they desperately needed immediate assistance to compensate them for their losses and in- tegrate them into West German society Fig.
He emphasized that social policies to relieve the dire circumstances of the victims of Communist oppression, now at home in the Federal Re- public, depended on economic reconstruction and growth. In the first elec- toral session of the Bundestag —53 , West German politicians con- fronted the claims of both the victims of National Socialism and the victims of German defeat on the eastern front.
Ghosts of these pasts, some Jewish, some German, often seemed to hover simultaneously in the halls of parliament, vying for recognition. Deeply divided over compensation payments for Jews and others persecuted by the Nazis, West Germans were ultimately led by a resolute chancellor to a reparations settlement with the state of Israel. When it came to addressing their own suffering, however, West Germans revealed no similar ambivalence.
Acknowledg- ment of their losses unified West Germans; it became central to defining the Federal Republic as a nation of victims. A comparison of public pol- icy debates over reparations for victims of Nazi persecution and mea- sures to assist expellees and returning POWs reveals much about how West Germans viewed their responsibility for the atrocities of the Third Reich and how they measured their losses. In its early history, the West German parliament did not avoid the past; rather, it drew up balance sheets, calculated suffering, and, by accounting for the past, sought to put parts of that past to rest, while incorporating other parts into the foundations of the Federal Republic.
In , Adenauer knew that he faced a Bundestag deeply divided along political lines. The West German party, ultimately legally banned in , could therefore easily be dismissed as the repre- sentative of precisely those forces of totalitarian repression that reigned supreme in the Soviet Union. First arrested in July , he had spent nearly a decade in Nazi concentration camps, including almost eight years in Dachau. To bring home this message, British and American forces of occupation confronted Ger- mans with graphic representations of the evils committed by the National Socialist regime.
And the Allies left little doubt that constructing a postwar German democracy would be possible only if Germany was rid once and for all of its military traditions. Germans claimed that they could not be collec- tively guilty for crimes of which they were ignorant. The Allied empha- sis on German complicity implied possibilities for resistance that simply did not exist, and denied the realities of life in a terrorist state run by madmen. By the late s, the western Allies were inclined to agree. Because of the growing tensions of the Cold War, they now abandoned the pur- suit of a nation of potential war criminals, seeking instead to anchor re- habilitated West Germans in a western alliance.
True National Social- ist believers had no place in a western military alliance, but the Allies were now willing to accept that most West Germans did not fall into that category. Acknowledging a past in which some Germans had been perpetrators of horrifying crimes was a prerequisite for the West German state to win recognition as a sover- eign nation. In September , Adenauer sketched a way for West Germans to admit that crimes had taken place without pointing fingers at any specific criminals.
Unspeakable crimes have been committed in the name of the German people, calling for moral and material indem- nity. There were many among the German people who showed their readiness to help their fellow citizens at their own peril for religious reasons, because of a trou- bled conscience, out of shame at the disgrace of the German name. There is much evidence that the chancellor wanted to convince the Allies that Germany was will- ing to acknowledge past crimes in order to gain full acceptance as an equal, autonomous partner in the postwar western alliance.
In other ac- counts, and in his own recollections, Adenauer acted as he did on the basis of deeply held moral convictions, not as a response to Allied ex- pectations and pressure.
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Few other West Germans applauded the overture to Israel. A survey conducted in the Federal Republic by the U. In the final parliamentary debates over ratification of the treaty with Israel, he met with the steadfast in- transigence of the German Party DP , a relatively small political group- ing on the extreme right wing; of the German Communists, at the other end of the spectrum; and of some members of the CDU and CSU, the bases of his own ruling coalition. Others, though os- tensibly in favor of victim compensation, opposed a collective settlement and fretted that a German-Israeli reconciliation would alienate potential German allies among Arab League member states.
The KPD was also in the opposition, maintaining that the only true beneficiaries of reparations in Israel would be capitalists and financiers. Social Democrats, at odds with the Chris- tian Democratic chancellor on many other issues in the early s, now joined with him to ratify the treaty with Israel. In the same year that it ratified the treaty with Israel, the West German parliament approved legislation that built on state initiatives, particularly in the American zone of occupation, and established a national framework for addressing the claims of these other victims of the Nazis.
Legislation ultimately restricted legitimate victims to those who could document that their race or beliefs had caused their suffering and who lived in the Federal Republic at the end of or who had been deported by the Nazis or emigrated after but could prove residence within the borders of the German Reich. Citizens of other nations who had returned to their homes—for example, Poles and Soviets, who had made up most of the slave labor force in Germany during the war—were ineligible; their claims for compensation could be processed only via national demands for reparations.
Indeed, in con- sidering appeals to suspend the tremendously expanded bases for crimi- nal prosecution of male homosexuality introduced by the Nazis, the Fed- eral Constitutional Court Bundesverfassungsgericht concluded that the revised law in no way violated the West German constitution or under- mined the foundations of a democratic state. So-called asocials, a flexible designation easily stretched by the Nazis to include anyone who did not conform to the racial, political, sexual, and moral criteria of the Third Reich, also did not qualify for compen- sation.
Some who had resisted the regime and were persecuted on political grounds were recognized as vic- tims, but Communists who had opposed the Nazis were not eligible if they were suspected of supporting another system of totalitarian rule in the present. There was also virtually no discussion of the one crime of National Socialism of which few Germans could have been ignorant: the involuntary importation from eastern Europe and the Soviet Union of workers, who were forced to labor for farmers and fac- tory owners in Germany and in other areas of eastern Europe occupied by the Nazis.
Of these, 22, were Russians. Only 1, were Germans, and of these, only were political prisoners. Most West Germans did not recognize the processes by which social marginalization had paved the way to mass extermina- tion. Indeed, West Germans defined racialism more narrowly than had the Nazis. In the casuistic thinking of the fifties, while Jews were perse- cuted because of their race, Poles were persecuted because of their na- tionality, not because the Nazis considered them to be racially inferior.
The Union of Those Persecuted by National Socialism Vereinigung der Verfolgten des Nazi-Regimes , an organization created in the late s to represent all victim interests, was quickly shoved to the margins because it was dominated by Communists, and no other or- ganization emerged to take its place.
In addition to acknowledging at least some responsibility for the crimes of National Socialism, they made the past part of the West German present in the years — Debates over these initiatives, however, did little to illuminate the origins of Na- tional Socialism or to locate the Nazi state within the context of mod- ern German history. Rather, they were aimed squarely at sealing off the past, prematurely closing a chapter that was defined as having started with mass extermination and ended in May Still, particularly in the first four years of its existence, the West German parliament and Ade- nauer, backed by the Social Democrats, sought to ensure that West Ger- mans did not entirely forget, avoid, or repress Nazi crimes.
However un- satisfactory and incomplete their attempts to confront that past, the federal government and a majority of the West German elected repre- sentatives did not deny the weighty legacy of Nazi terrorism or the at- tempt to exterminate all European Jews. Establishing moral accountability made it possible for many West Germans to hope that the ledger could now be closed once and for all.
For us Germans, less easily surmounted than the walls of an oriental ghetto were the walls of hate, scorn, and rejection that had already been built around us during the war and that still held us cap- tive after the war. Germans had heard horrifying tales of German victimization and Soviet barbarism since the last years of the war. The message was clear: Whoever did not fight to the finish would face a similar fate. By means of such arguments, Jews were transformed into one group of victims among many.
On the agenda of the same session in which Bundestag delegates debated the final form of the treaty with Israel were initiatives to address the problems of those fleeing from the Soviet-occupied zone of Germany and those expelled from eastern Europe. However, if Jews, expellees, and German POWs were equal at the level of rhetoric, the victims of National Socialism remained ghosts lacking faces, families, names, identities, or a powerful political presence.
Rep- resented by others, they spoke for themselves only seldom. German vic- tims, in contrast, lived, breathed, organized, demanded recognition, and delivered speeches from the floor of parliament. What Germans had inflicted on others remained abstract and remote; what Germans had suf- fered was described in vivid detail and granted a place of prominence in the public sphere. Expellees and POWs detained by the Soviets were both powerful sym- bols of the outcome of the war in the east, but they carried their suffer- ing into West Germany in different ways.
In the immediate postwar pe- riod, the flood of some eight million expellees into the western zones of occupation caused enormous difficulties and often led to resentment and bitterness on the part of the local population. Germans barely able to meet their own needs as they emerged from the devastation and priva- tion of the war were now expected to find room for the citizens of the Thousand Year Reich from eastern Europe and eastern Germany. Allied officials, concerned that expellee organizations might provide a locus for right-wing irredentist politics, forbade ethnic Germans from creating explicitly political bodies.
By the late s, however, a network of groups had emerged, some organized by occupation, some by place of origin, some for the defense of cultural interests, some affiliated with churches. Such ostensibly apolitical organizations proved fully capable of representing quite political interests. Regional organizations, Landsmannschaften, each with its own press organ and institutional structure, proliferated at a star- tlingly rapid rate, unifying in national coalitions and claiming between one and two million members by the early s.
In the meantime, expellee organizations and their political representatives called for the government at both the national and regional levels to do whatever was necessary to enable their constituents to start over in West Germany. Their demands included the international recognition of the Munich treaty of and the inclusion of part of postwar Czechoslovakia in postwar Germany. However, they were also increasingly unwilling to challenge directly the Cold War status quo. As for meeting the material needs of ex- pellees, this was the responsibility of the state that had started the war, not the states that had ended it, and by the early s the U.
High Commissioner John McCloy also noted that in an expanding economy, expellees represented an advantage, not a liability. If the geopolitical demands of expellees won little support outside the Federal Republic, at home they became set pieces in a foreign policy reper- toire that was crafted for domestic consumption and that underscored the anti-Communist consensus at the heart of West German politics. Annual days to commemorate the lost Heimat and reunions spon- sored by regional organizations brought together hundreds of thousands of eastern European Germans in traditional costumes, nostalgically in- voking the past Fig.
Such events also created a platform for broad- casting serious foreign policy pronouncements. By participating in the annual meetings, government ministers and political leaders lent interest group organizations credibility and le- gitimacy, hoping that their reward would be the votes of expellees. Seeking just compensation for those whose return was delayed by a stay behind barbed wire, organized POWs also aggressively demanded the homecoming of comrades still in Soviet hands. Soviet unwillingness to release all remaining German soldiers became a particularly power- ful symbol of Communist brutality.
Lacking a full reckoning of the dead and missing in action, the West German state responded angrily that the numbers did not add up; still unaccounted for were over a million Germans who had gone to Russia and not returned Fig. However, official concerns about those German soldiers still behind the iron curtain were not only for domestic consumption. Although the British and American govern- ments responded with indifference to West German demands that they help ease the plight of expellees in the postwar Federal Republic, they showed no reluctance to champion the cause of POWs victimized by Communists, enthusiastically transforming German concerns into an international affair.
Embracing the cause of West Germans who sought the release of all POWs from the last war also paralleled British and American pressures to ensure that chastened, rehabilitated Germans would once again take up arms if called on to fight the next. In , Dwight D. In an official statement, hammered out by West German representatives and the U. Just as they had paved streets to rebuild a war-torn Soviet Union, they could also pave the way for the Federal Republic to enter the United Nations, where, with Amer- ican and British sponsorship, West Germans charged the Soviets with ly- ing and withholding information.
State Department and the West German govern- ment clearly understood that by focusing on the mistreatment of Ger- man POWs by the Soviets, it would be possible to push the Federal Republic further westward. As an official of the U. These figures did not include the un- told number of ethnic Germans—estimated to be as high as ,— transported against their will to do forced labor in the Soviet Union at the end of the war and never heard from again.
Within the Foreign Office, no one denied that these published figures were exaggerated; in the ab- sence of accurate figures of wartime casualties, all those missing in ac- tion on the eastern front could be counted as potential Soviet prisoners. By the spring of , reliable information existed for only about 9, POWs who still corresponded with relatives in the Federal Republic, a figure close to the numbers reported by the Soviets. However, govern- ment officials justified using the high-end estimate in public pronounce- ments by alleging that many POWs might be denied the opportunity to write home.
As a symbol of solidarity, introduced by the West Berlin mayor, Ernst Reuter, West Germans displayed green can- dles, after the custom of fishermen who lit candles on the shore during storms, beacons signaling the way home for sailors in distress Fig. Symbolically for all Germans, these heroes were offering reparations to the Soviet Union. By the early s, those call- ing for their release insisted that the POWs had long since squared ac- counts; the punishment no longer fit the crime. They were also responding to their colleagues on the floor of the Bundestag.
Their private stories profoundly shaped the agenda of pub- lic policy. Accounting for the Past Legislative initiatives to compensate German victims allowed all po- litical parties to acknowledge German loss and sacrifice. Most notably, the British and Americans had acquiesced to Soviet demands—outlined at Teheran, specified at Yalta, finalized at Potsdam—that they occupy eastern Europe and expel Germans from their historic homelands. National Socialism had created count- less victims, of whom many were Germans. The lan- guage of millions was a powerful moral currency. Indeed, debates over measures to meet the needs of expellees and returning POWs emphasized how the suffering of these groups represented a collective penance that allowed West Germans to close the moral ledger in the black.
With extraordinary energy and thoroughness, the Bundestag took up measures to meet the needs of German victims, particularly those ex- pelled from eastern Europe or, as prisoners of war, prevented from re- turning home until well after the end of hostilities and disadvantaged by their lengthy separation from work and family. Before , mea- sures to assist expellees and returning POWs were administered in each of the zones of western Allied occupation by individual state govern- ments, charitable organizations based in the churches, and the Red Cross.
Combined with other measures to provide immediate assistance introduced in , this law resulted in payments of nearly twenty-seven billion marks by , 64 percent of which went to ex- pellees. In the period —56, other programs designed to provide former POWs with medical care, occupational training, and housing assistance amounted to over seven hundred million marks.
Despite the broad consensus favoring just compensation for return- ing POWs and victims of the expulsion, not all measures sailed effort- lessly through the Bundestag. Most programs were designed to assist them in making a fresh start, not to restore the social status that they had lost or, in the case of POWs, compensate them for the reparations they had delivered to the So- viets. Discontent did not translate into massive political opposition to the central government, as had been the case in Weimar, nor did POWs or veterans move far to the right as they had in the s.
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Although its very existence forced all other parties to compete more vigorously for the votes of expellees, the BHE was ultimately unable to attract a constituency of its own and rapidly declined in significance. Although in the late s currency reform had disastrous consequences for expellees and POWs, resulting in high unemployment and price increases that were not matched by in- creased public welfare allowances, by the early s West Germany had entered a phase of rapid economic expansion.
What had seemed like a tremen- dous liability in the late s had become an enormous resource. Eco- nomic historians continue to debate the impact of the huge postwar population migration on the performance of the West German economy, but there is little doubt that the economic problems of those groups most forcefully displaced by the war diminished as the postwar economy ex- panded. In addition, unlike Weimar, the Bonn government and the Bundestag consistently allowed those most prone to political disaffection an active role in defining solutions for their own problems and ensured that every- one achieved at least something of what they were after.
Self-defined vic- tims participated in a process of consensus building for which the Weimar precedent offered a negative example; this process served a pow- erful integrative function and undermined the appeal of special-interest parties. The exhaustive public discussion of the needs and rights of expellees and POWs granted them a particularly important role in defining a post- war social contract based on the condemnation of all variants of au- thoritarian rule. Meeting the just demands of these groups was essential for the do- mestic social stability that would allow West Germany to serve as the first line of defense against potential Communist expansion westward.
Neither National Socialist nor Communist, the Federal Republic was also not American, British, or French; the West German government won acceptance for its initiatives to compensate expellees and returning POWs by stressing that these programs were singularly German, grounded in the best tradition of the German social welfare system and correcting the punitive policies imposed by the Allies in the years of postwar occupa- tion.
Postwar debates over shared fates circumscribed a community of suf- fering and empathy among Germans, joined by the common project of distributing the costs of the war. Defining the just claims and rights to entitlement of some and the moral obligations of others was part of es- tablishing the bases for social solidarity in West Germany. All major political parties could agree on this mode for confronting the past, because it was ostensibly outside the arena of party-political wrangling.
To be sure, this vision of the past was highly political. In June a seamstress, Anna Schwartz, recorded her memories of the end of the war in Danzig, the city that Hitler had incorporated into the Reich when he invaded Poland in September This is what Schwartz recalled: For Schwartz, German defeat came before the official surrender. In late March , the Russians marched into Danzig, setting the city on fire. Falling bombs drove Schwartz and her neighbors into air raid shelters, from which Russian voices, promising freedom and security, later beck- oned them if they would surrender.
Distrusting these assurances, Schwartz unsuccessfully sought a place on one of the last boats leaving the port city to cross the Baltic bound for northern Germany, though Russian fighter bombers made this a perilous and uncertain escape route as well. Schwartz compared her fate with that of German soldiers, holding out until the end and facing imprisonment or death. On March 27 Soviet soldiers entered the city. Other women also lost their honor, and Schwartz re-. By evening, Schwartz found herself together with many other Germans as a prisoner of the Red Army, under guard on a large farm.
Here she faced interrogation about her party loyalties and occupation. Marched twenty-two kilometers daily to work on a farm outside Danzig, she re- turned to more nightly questioning. The sound of gunshots in the dis- tance indicated that some Germans were receiving death sentences on the spot. Schwartz speculated that local Poles had betrayed them. Good Friday was a particularly vivid memory for Schwartz.
She could still picture the four hundred women with her in the cold stalls, where humans had replaced livestock. Denied food or drink, the women also had no protection from the chilly winds that raced through the bro- ken windows of the barn. Mothers, separated from their children, cried. As I heard later, they had stood there for days, forbidden from returning to their homes. In front of the houses, their goods were strewn, and now and again we saw a crazed man or woman running through the streets. Here she was finally allowed to bathe, but only in large common showers, where she was ogled and ridiculed by her Russian guards.
Graudenz was a way station en route to forced labor in Siberia, a des- tination reached after an eighteen-day train ride in livestock cars into which Schwartz was crammed together with others from West Prussia, East Prussia, and Pomerania. Her new home was a camp surrounded by a two-meter-high barbed wire fence with a watchtower at each corner. Now she worked daily on the construction of a rail line that was to connect two mines. She was next sent to a nearby collective farm, where she and her co-workers lived in tents. When most of the German labor force moved back to the camp in November, Schwartz stayed on, one of seven women who spent the winter on the collective farm.
In the spring she returned to the camp to discover a new, harsher reg- imen that left inmates standing daily for endless roll calls. She estimated that meanwhile more than a thousand Germans had died in the camp. Assigned again to an agricultural work detail, Schwartz also practiced her trade, sewing for the Soviet officers, their wives, and girlfriends. Three years of hard labor left Schwartz indifferent, moody, irritable, exhausted, and sullen. But news finally came of her imminent release and return home together with the sick, invalids, and all other women over thirty.
The previous years had left her grateful to the Soviet leader for nothing. At most, they now served to store grain or house livestock. Where urban landscapes were restored in Minsk and Smolensk, Schwartz recognized the efforts of German prisoners of war, assigned to rebuild what the German army had destroyed. We had not come home, but we had arrived in the Fatherland.
At the end of the war, the Red Army drove millions of Germans westward from their homes in eastern Europe, and thousands more were deported eastward to forced labor in the Soviet Union. Like Schwartz, they suffered incal- culable losses, and many provided detailed accounts of what they had endured. In this chapter, I do not seek to reconstruct their experiences or to provide a social his- tory of the expulsion.
These compilations of individual testimonies were complemented by three full-length diaries. In the s, historians were not alone in their attempt to provide reli- able, scholarly accounts of the expulsion. Without denying the strains generated by the confrontation of eastern and western Germans, Lemberg empha- sized that the new whole was bigger than the sum of its parts. Social scientists addressed the present and analyzed the experience of expellees upon their arrival in the Federal Republic.
Sociologists left little room for expellees to describe their own circumstances; for the most part, the expellee appeared in their studies as an abstract object of analysis. A Nazi party member since , he taught and lived in that city until he and his family fled the approaching Red Army in December He was fascinated by the history of Germans in West Prussia, and the scholarly work that qualified him for the professorship focused on that part of the world.
After , his methodological reflections on how to doc- ument the history of one German defeat could be transferred to his study of another. Although he had converted from Judaism to Protestantism before the First World War, served in the war, and saw himself as a loyal, patriotic German, particularly concerned to establish the significance of German cultural contributions in eastern Europe, he was removed from his position in and barred from teaching altogether a year later. He eventually emigrated to the United States, where he taught first at Brown, then at the University of Chicago.
Through these two struc- tures, he exercised a significant influence on the writing of twentieth- century German history in the Federal Republic. The Documentation amassed an impressive mound of primary sources. These volumes thus offered some of the earliest systematic attempts by West Germans not only to document the history of the expulsion but also to describe the policies of German occupation in eastern Europe.
At the heart of the project were over seven hundred personal testi- monies and eyewitness accounts, some complete, some extensively ex- cerpted. Together with brief editorial introductions and a range of official government documents, the volumes on individual regions totaled more than 4, densely printed pages. Assembling documentary sources that would allow historians to write German history since was particularly difficult. The Institute for Contemporary His- tory represented one attempt to address this problem, through its col- lecting of documentary materials relevant to the analysis of the recent past.
In addition, historians must be willing to depart from the tradi- tional conception that the only legitimate sources were those authored by state agencies and deposited in official archives. The scholarly project to document the expulsion represented an attempt to assemble sources of a different sort. Rothfels acknowledged that historians who sought to explain events from which they had so little distance faced a real chal- lenge. The process was made even more difficult because many of those testifying recorded their memories only years af- ter the events they documented.
Schieder, who was directly involved in virtually all aspects of the project, from securing a typewriter to hiring secretarial help, also specified the criteria to be applied in determining the reliability of such documentary accounts. East German historians charged that the project represented little more than an extension of Cold War anti-Communism, while expellee inter- est groups grumbled that the editorial staff was too soft, not hard, on Communism. Even though the project had relied heavily on interest groups to collect their sources, these organizations claimed that the ed- itors had ultimately been unwilling to portray faithfully the true extent of Communist atrocities or to consult adequately with the real experts, most notably interest group leaders who had suffered personally from the expulsion.
The thick volumes edited by Schieder and his colleagues overflowed with countless other individual tales of terror.
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Near the end of the war, Herr O. The prejudice of Communists against Germans was fueled, the edi- tors explained, not only by dramatic cultural and racial differences but also by ideology. It is thus understandable that they cannot acknowledge or respect the property of others. Be- cause many men were dead or, still in uniform, separated from their homes in the last months of the war, stories of the German confronta- tion with the Red Army often told of women left to fend for themselves, guarded only by old men and boys mustered at the last minute into lo- cal defense militias Volkssturm.
When women crossed paths with German soldiers in retreat, they realized that they shared a common fate; this war had erased the lines between bat- tlefront and homefront. The scars of war that women bore, however, were the scars of rape by Red Army soldiers. Frau G. Herr A. According to his account, these soldiers tore children from the arms of women and girls and car- ried women off and raped them at gunpoint.
Liberation came not from Russians but from an SS division that saved the honor of German women by recapturing his village. Their faces did not move, only the eyes were alive, and I will never forget that, how unbelievably wild they looked. Yes, they even assaulted children, animals, and old people.
I had nothing left to lose. In the western zones of occupation immediately following the war, observers often claimed difficulty in locating the boundaries that sepa- rated rape, prostitution, and fraternization with the victorious Allies. Sympathy for the rape victims of British, French, and American soldiers blurred with suspicion that women had succumbed to blandishments and material benefits offered by the victors. I was ashamed. Here, German women were victims, plain and simple. Valiant martyrs, not suspect fraternizers, they told tales of survival that described the brutality of war as dramatically as did the stories of men who had experienced another war at the front.
When the Germans heard a shot fired they feared the worst, but after thirty minutes they were called back into the room. The women were still alive, but Frau I. During this time, I had three Russians. In the Schieder documentation, other instruments of violence and ter- ror joined rape to remind Germans of their complete subordination to the victor. Other signs of a world turned upside down were abundant.
Menial workers were now estate managers. Who can empathize with this feeling? Truly, only the person who throughout all these months has gone with us through this hell, which we have now escaped. He was allowed to live entirely alone with the animals and his par- ents in the stall, and he had as a bed his own manger while we were packed in like sardines into the stalls and lay on the ground. Still unaware of the Potsdam agreement in the fall of , Frau I. By the time she recorded these memories, Frau I.
They had learned this lesson while Roosevelt sat with Stalin at Yalta and Truman sealed the fate of eastern Europe at Potsdam. The editors of individual volumes in the documentation joined this anti- Communist chorus, offering additional insights from their historical per- spective.
In eastern Europe, they explained, Communism mixed with in- digenous histories and traditions in particularly terrifying combinations. The superimposition of Soviet Marxism on Russian backwardness and a completely non-Western worldview had disastrous consequences; as Herr H. The worst began just as national conflicts ceased. Freedom was only freedom to be subjected to the whim of the Red Army and local partisans. Few expellees reflected—or were asked by the editors to reflect—more than fleetingly on their relationship to a past that predated their own suffering.
When eyewitnesses did evoke other memories of eastern Eu- rope, it was to underscore themes that Schieder had developed in his own scholarship in the s: the political, economic, intellectual, and social contributions that Germans had made to central Europe. This idea, however, was rejected by the Ministry of Expellees, on the grounds that comparisons would make it impossible to claim the singularity of the expulsion. The books that did appear contained little evidence of German mis- deeds. For example, neither eyewitnesses nor the editors commented on the exploitation of other nationalities as forced laborers by Germans.
In these dark hours, everyone was just German, but it was unfortunately too late. The expellees were thus victims twice over, prey first to scheming Nazis, then to marauding Communists. In the testimonies, Soviets, Czechs, Poles, Hungarians, Yugoslavs, Ro- manians, and—by implication—Americans and the British, who imme- diately after the war had judged all Germans equally complicitous, mis- takenly believed that all Nazis were bad. Expellees emphasized that membership in the League of German Girls, for example, did not imply a wholehearted embrace of Nazi ideology, and that German men were unwilling and in some cases unsuspecting last-minute conscripts into the Waffen-SS.
Who was a fascist? His parents have moved away. His brother was in the German army. He once said: What will become of us Germans? He ate and drank together with murderers. I sometimes in- vited the local commandant to eat with me. A rare exception to this rule was the testimony of Herr H.
In his testimony, Herr H. Hopes for a better future were short-lived, however, for Soviet rule was quickly re- placed by the reign of Polish Communists. Although Herr H. Herr H. Elsewhere in the documentation, although Jews did not speak directly, they certainly occupied German memories. Those who collapsed were shot and left lying on the ground. The stripes on what tat- tered clothing remained signaled that these were victims of concentra- tion camps.
In graphic terms M. Both she and Adenauer were ready to admit that atonement was essential for crimes that other Germans had committed; neither saw that they shared any responsibility for those crimes. In other German memories, neither Israelis nor Russians nor Poles but eastern European Jews themselves determined the terms of atonement. In some reports, Jews appeared not in striped rags but Red Army uni- forms, viciously leading interrogations or ruling over the camps estab- lished for ethnic Germans as they awaited deportation to the Soviet Union or transport to western Germany.
The head of all internment camps for Germans in the area after the war, this banker turned soldier, Kreal claimed, had survived under the Nazis because of his Christian wife, and he had found employment working in the agency that distributed seized Jewish property. Frau E. However, the editors of the Schieder docu- mentation corroborated Frau E. It would have been pos- sible to make similar pictures in our camp as well. Some of the accounts provided in the documentation project, recorded even as German reparations to Israel filled newspaper headlines, stated the overwhelming similarity of the treatment of all victims and the moral equivalence of their suffering even more explicitly.
Loaded onto a train, they rode a short ways to the edge of a forest, where some fifteen of the strongest men were given shovels and told to dig a trench. When they had completed their work, the remaining forty-five men were or- dered out of the train, and immediately recognized that they were be- ing marched to a mass grave. Now the killing squads spoke Russian or another eastern Euro- pean language; now the God defiled was Christian, not Jewish.
Testimony of starvation so severe that it left its victims waiting only for death came from a German, not a Jewish, survivor. The men were sent to another chamber, and on the left, a bright fire burned. On the wall, there were pipes, and the fumes from this fire came into our chamber. Everyone started coughing. We thought we would suffocate. All of a sudden, the door opened, and they hauled me out. My mother screamed, but it did not help; I was raped. National Social- ist regime. Jews helped Germans to understand their fate, and Germans depicted themselves as particularly willing stu- dents.
I sentenced to 2H years in a mine in Saxony, Hitler Germany quite good, regular work, much food, cigarettes, booze, and much money. You have it good with me. Their exis- tence made existence of the good German a possibility as well. Recon- ciliation and forgiveness transcended ideology and ethnicity.
Terror was the product of totalitarian regimes, not individuals, who were able to rec- ognize their common humanity as the basis for reconciliation, under- standing, and moving beyond a troubling past in which some German victims might also have been perpetrators. Survivors of expulsion, internment, and deportation, expellees were de- scribed and described themselves as profoundly changed, granted a priv- ileged perspective by a difficult experience that gave them unique insights into how best to build a new Germany.
The editors respected silence and selective memory, and they asked no difficult questions of their sources. As expellee interest groups met to solicit testi- monies for the documentation project, the Cold War was intensifying and anti-Communism was a fundamental characteristic of the political culture of the Federal Republic. The volumes am- ply recorded the brutality of the Red Army and the nightmarish justice meted out by postwar partisan governments. The catalogue of horrors thus recorded is staggering, a lasting record of what millions of Germans experienced in eastern Europe at the end of the Second World War.
How- ever, the editors never moved beyond what the testimonies recorded to question how their eyewitnesses described their experiences and which memories they chose to exclude. In these minutes scenes were played out for which no words exist. The only thing that we could take with us was all our memo- ries, whether good or bad.
This was the only thing that no one could steal from these people. They do this with an ur- gency that would be impossible for anyone telling the story afterward to achieve. The documentation project, completed only in with the volume on Yugoslavia, occupied a small bookshelf, but it is unlikely that the weighty tomes filled the leisure hours of many West Germans. Despite print runs of between eight and ten thousand, sales were dismal.
Public commemoration and individual catharsis were thus parts of the same process. Who could doubt popular fictionalized versions of sim- ilar stories when the editors cited them to corroborate the evidence they presented? Driven into Zeitgeschichte In the memories of Adenauer and most West Germans, the past to be overcome in the s, the past to be incorporated systematically as part of the present, was not the past of German crimes but the past of Ger- man suffering. To be sure, immediately after the war anyone who wanted to learn of Nazi atrocities needed look no further than Allied reeducation campaigns and the massive documentation compiled by the prosecutors for the Nuremberg trials and the series of Allied legal proceedings against a string of lesser Nazi officials and collaborators that followed Nuremberg.
However, even in these works, individual voices of the victims of Germans were rarely heard; suffering seldom had a face, name, or specific location. By the s, the war sto- ries that most interested them were those of German victims who were not also Jewish. In an insightful exploration of the reception of Anne Frank in the Federal Republic, Alvin Rosenfeld describes the pro- found impact the play had on thousands of West Germans, and the Anne Frank youth clubs and commemorative services that it spawned. Even in this context, however, the play considerably toned down the specifically Jew- ish characteristics of the story and transformed Anne Frank into a uni- versalized symbol of all human suffering.
They were the medium through which expellees offered a response to their experience. Their collective efforts were intended as a guarantee that no one in the Federal Republic would forget. Bischof looked on in amaze- ment as four policemen blocked traffic, making it possible for the little bus that carried him to thread its way through a jubilant throng of some well-wishers of all ages. Now everything is all right. Ten years have passed. Hardly anyone can control their emotions. A hug and kisses, embraces and mumbled words of love, and flowers, flowers. Friends and neighbors respectfully withdrew, understanding that mother and son needed a moment alone.
It will be possible to see him later.
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Now is not the time to ask questions. Although some returned to the German Democratic Republic, the overwhelming majority only passed through East Germany on their way to a final destination in the West. They were joined by several hun- dred women and eastern Germans deported to do forced labor in the Soviet Union or arrested on charges of spying in the Soviet zone of oc- cupation after All had now been released as a consequence of ne- gotiations between Chancellor Adenauer and his Soviet counterparts, conducted in Moscow in early September. In , German soldiers had come home defeated.
The popu- lar press presented Adenauer as the right kind of leader for a new Ger- many. Returning POWs offered a critical perspective on this record of post- war accomplishment. Men whose maturity and experience made them expert commentators on the dan- gers of Communism, they were also acutely attuned to the dangers of excess in an expanding consumer society. In the pages of daily newspa- pers, returning POWs offered their thoughts not only on what they had experienced in the Soviet Union but also on what they confronted in the Federal Republic.
In their account it is a geopolitical, not a domestic, drama that is played out, and the major actors were not German soldiers but Adenauer and the Soviet leaders, Nikolai Bulganin, Nikita Khrushchev, and Vyacheslav Molotov.
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This version of diplomatic wrangling and high politics goes something like this: Adenauer traveled to Moscow in September to achieve better relations with the Soviets in order to pursue the long-term goal of Soviet acquiescence to the unification of a divided Germany. They now declared themselves ready to accept two independent Germanys in place of Four-Power reg- ulation of a Germany that would one day be unified. At Geneva, the So- viets made it clear that all future talks over German unification must in- clude both German states. The possibility of accepting the existence of two German embassies in Moscow was justified because this move might be necessary to reunite Germany in the long term.
When German soldiers return home in the fall of , they are far more than mere pawns in the diplomatic deal-making of great men and great pow- ers; rather, the press gives them the best lines, permitting them to offer commentaries on the meanings of the Second World War and postwar development in the Federal Republic. In addition to the large contingent of reporters who accompanied Adenauer to Moscow, the press was also ready at Friedland, the town in Lower Saxony through which returnees began to pass in October , and from there reporters fol- lowed returnees as they journeyed to their homes throughout the Fed- eral Republic.
Announcements of the names of returnees over the radio became occasions for gatherings in local pubs, moments of celebration and reflection. Events surrounding the homecoming of the POWs were also staged as photo opportunities for the daily press and newsreel pho- tographers; rich illustrations framed straight news accounts and feature stories, illuminating the personal fates of returning POWs and the fam- ilies awaiting them.
They also differed in their treatment of the event, ranging from the cool intellectual tone and hard-nosed po- litical analysis of the liberal weekly Die Zeit to the sensationalism of pub- lications like Der Stern. Fathers and sons awaited release in Soviet POW camps, and a father and grandfather flew to Moscow to bring them home. Adenauer was seventy- nine when he left for the Soviet capital. The cult of per- sonality surrounding Adenauer, crucial to CDU electoral strategies, in- cluded the image of Adenauer as a loving husband, father, and grandfa- ther many times over.
With his second wife, Gussie, nineteen years his jun- ior, he raised four more Adenauers. She suffered from a blood disease that led to her death in , attended until the bitter end by her hus- band and children. It is suggestive to compare this popular representation with that of the last German chancellor to contemplate a trip to Moscow. His single status may have permitted Nazi propagandists to po- sition him as a matinee idol, but when they pictured him surrounded by adoring children, the children were not his own.
It was perhaps this image of Adenauer that convinced some West Ger- mans that they could address him directly with the concerns they wanted him to present to Soviet leaders once it was officially announced that he would travel to Moscow. The woman who had lost one husband in the First World War did not want to lose a second. Adenauer also heard from children without fathers.
By , these were familiar scripts for millions of women and children who had experienced the separations and displacements of war. Among appeals addressed to a kind, loving father, however, were more critical voices that questioned whether the chancellor was up to the task. Can they be made any worse? Too much bodily and spiritual pain is associated with it. Another 15 percent claimed to have a personal acquain- tance who fell into one of those categories. A decade after defeat by the Red Army, West Germans were returning to the Soviet Union, this time armed with the symbols of capitalist affluence.
Together with a second Mercedes, assigned to Foreign Minister Heinrich von Brentano, the car was celebrated in the illustrated magazine Der Stern as a genuine tourist attraction in Moscow, carrying not only West German political leaders but dreams of West Ger- man economic prosperity as well. Un- differentiated poverty begins twenty, at most fifty meters behind the whitewashed facades. And because all automobiles are of the same sort, the noise of honking horns and motors is uniform as well.
A West German woman should be a wife and mother, working in the home, not on a construction site, and spending the money that men earned. Prisoners of Public Memory