Ambiguous Memory: The Nazi Past and German National Identity by Siobhan Kattago

By Siobhan Kattago

Ambiguous reminiscence examines the position of reminiscence within the construction of a brand new nationwide identification in reunified Germany. the writer keeps that the contentious debates surrounding modern monumnets to the Nazi earlier testify to the anomaly of German reminiscence and the ongoing hyperlink of Nazism with modern German nationwide identification. The publication discusses how definite monuments, and the methods Germans have seen them, give a contribution to the several methods Germans have handled the previous, and the way they proceed to house it as one state. Kattago concludes that West Germans have internalized their Nazi prior as a normative orientation for the democratic tradition of West Germany, whereas East Germans have universalized Nazism and the Holocaust, reworking it into an abstraction during which the Jewish query is down performed. on the way to shape a brand new collective reminiscence, the writer argues that unified Germany needs to cope with those conflicting perspectives of the earlier, incorporating definite features of either perspectives. offering a topography of East, West, and unified German reminiscence throughout the Eighties and the Nineteen Nineties, this paintings contributes to a greater figuring out of up to date nationwide id and society. the writer exhibits how public debate over such matters at Ronald Reagan's stopover at to Bitburg, the renarration of Buchenwald as Nazi and Soviet internment camp, the Goldhagen controversy, and the Holocaust Memorial debate in Berlin give a contribution to the complexities surrounding the best way Germans see themselves, their dating to the prior, and their destiny identification as a kingdom. In a cautious research, the writer indicates how the prior used to be used and abused via either the East and the West within the Nineteen Eighties, and the way those techniques merged within the Nineties. This attention-grabbing new paintings takes a sociological method of the function of reminiscence in forging a brand new, integrative nationwide id.

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24. , Les Lieux de Memoire: part 1, La Republique-, part 2, La Nation-, part 3, Les France (Paris: Gallimard, 1984-1992). 25. Wood, "Memory's Remains," 123-125. 26. Pierre Nora, "Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de Memoire," Representations 26 (Spring 1989): 7. 27. Ibid. 28. , 7-8. 29. Andreas Huyssen, "Monuments and Holocaust Memory in a Media Age," in his Twilight Memories (New York: Routledge, 1995), 253. , Zeitphdnomen Musealisierung: Das Verschwinden der Gegenwart und die Konstruktion der Erinnerung (Essen: Klartext Verlag, 1990), 40-50.

70 The attention to places of memory, the democratization of memory in an era of commemoration, the affects of the mass media on the structure of temporality and memory, and finally Nora's understanding of the peculiar modern problem of the awareness of simultaneous cultural amnesia and obsession with the past provide critical complements to the constitutive role of memory in the narration of the modern nation. Nora, like Anderson, Balibar, and Hobsbawm, is highly aware of the socially constructed nature of both memory and identity as mediated activities.

65. Robert Musil, "Monuments," in his Posthumous Papers of a Living Author, trans. Peter Wortsman (New York: Penguin Books, 1987;1995), 61. 66. See Michel Foucault, Language, Counter-Memory, Practice, ed. Donald F. Bouchard, trans. Donald F. Bouchard and Sherry Simon (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1977; 1980). 67. As Robin Wagner-Pacifici and Barry Schwartz argue, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial questions Durkheim's belief that moral unity is the object of commemoration. By focusing on commemoration as a "genre problem," a monument commemorating national unity is contrasted with the ambiguity of commemorating national disunity in Maya Lin's Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

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