'Is he still alive, or long since dead?' Loss, absence and remembrance in Nuremberg, 1945–1956

Gregor, N. (2003) 'Is he still alive, or long since dead?' Loss, absence and remembrance in Nuremberg, 1945–1956. German History, 21, (2), 183-203. (doi:10.1191/0266355403gh280oa).


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This article uses the search for the 'missing' Wehrmacht soldiers in the 1950s as a prism through which to explore the ways in which we might insert the notion of trauma into our understanding of West Germany's status as a postwar society. In seeking to point out the connections between the ways in which 'ordinary Germans' suffered during and after the war on the one hand, and the inability of post-war West German society to 'confront' the crimes of the past on the other, it argues that the traumatizing impact of war has to be considered alongside the ideological and political necessities of the Cold War and reconstruction if we are to understand why West German society failed to place the Holocaust at the centre of its memorial culture in the immediate post-war years. Moreover, in pointing to the Lutheran church as a key site of memorial politics in the post-war era, it argues for the integration of a study of religious narratives, mentalities and discourses into an understanding of the evolution of the commemorative practices of the 1950s which has hitherto been shaped by an excessively one-sided focus on secular sites and narratives.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1191/0266355403gh280oa
ISSNs: 0266-3554 (print)
Related URLs:
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
D History General and Old World > DD Germany
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D839 Post-war History, 1945 on
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Humanities > History
ePrint ID: 12183
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2005
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 11:23
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/12183

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