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date: 20 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter focuses on how German politics and society have approached the difficult history of a country that caused World War II and the extermination of millions of Jews during Nazi rule. Hope and memory or expectation and experience are introduced as two major theoretical categories that determine the degree of a successful historical reflection. The manifestations of memory in institutions of public history such as historical sites, monuments, and museums are discussed. The chapter analyzes the political interests that have determined memory politics in different phases of German postwar history. It reflects the attempts that have been made in literature or other forms of public history to integrate the subjective dimension into the perception of history. Facing the past is seen as an ongoing process in an open society in which diverse competitive narratives emerge and constantly reshape society’s cultural self-understanding.

Keywords: historical culture, Germany, war crimes, memorial sites, collective memory, Nazi ideology, memory politics, subjective meaning, European Jews, museums

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