Representations of the Holocaust in Today’s Germany: Between Justification and Empathy

, April 26, 2008

Jewish Political Studies Review 20:1-2 (Spring 2008)

German narratives on the Holocaust and World War II have changed since 1945, propelled by debates about the period, political developments, and distance from the historical event. Native Germans tend to focus increasingly on their own fate as Germans and to idolize their society’s behavior during the Holocaust era. Immigrants and immigrant students in Germany have trouble relating to the Holocaust, which often seems to them strictly a part of German history that has no connection to them. The overall situation poses challenges to Holocaust education with which it has yet to cope successfully.

In Germany, the narrative of the Holocaust and how it is passed on from one generation to another depends on various factors. There are official politics and ceremonies on Holocaust Remembrance Day on 27 January and on the Kristallnacht Remembrance Day, 9 November. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989, the latter has been observed mainly by the Jewish community.

Public events and discourses have changed the German perspective on the Holocaust and will have long-term effects on how the country’s population deals with the subject, including how World War II and the Holocaust are taught in schools and elsewhere. That, in turn, will influence the perceptions of succeeding generations.

Public Discourses

The German public discourse on the Holocaust and World War II began with the screening of the TV series Holocaust in 1979-1980. It continued with the Historikerstreit (Historians’ Quarrel) of 1986, which was mainly propelled by an article by the historian Ernst Nolte in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Nolte portrayed the National Socialist state and its terror as a mere reaction to the Bolshevik threat. He characterized the persecution of Jews and the Shoah itself as a genocide among others and not, as Yehuda Bauer wrote, “unanimous, total and universal” and therefore “paradigmatic.”[1]

The next major controversy in this realm was the Bubis-Walser debate of 1998. In October that year, the writer Martin Walser was honored with the Peace Prize of German Publishers. In his speech he expressed his weariness at being confronted time and again with Auschwitz and with what he called the “moral club,” causing him to want to avoid the subject.

Walser received a standing ovation from the 1,200 guests from the business, cultural, media, and political elites. But Ignatz Bubis, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, and his wife Ida did not applaud, remaining the only ones seated. Bubis was the first to articulate his anger and protest. Most of his supporters were also Jews; others who agreed with him told him so in private, not wanting it to be known publicly.

Bubis died in 1999, but the debate between him and Walser was never resolved. A few weeks before his death, Bubis summed up his lifelong work on Jewish-German reconciliation with his well-known statement: “I did not or nearly did not succeed in my efforts.” Despite strongly advocating Jewish life in Germany after 1945, he did not want to be buried in the country and his funeral took place in Israel.

In summer and fall 2007, the Jewish Museum in Frankfurt honored Bubis and the debates he promoted or took part in.[2] Walser, who was interviewed for the exhibit, expressed in the short feature screened there a certain regret that he was unable to resolve the debate during Bubis’s lifetime. He never, however, hinted at a sincere apology.

What was Walser’s point in mentioning that he had not had the chance to speak again with Bubis? The impression given was that Walser did not really regret anything, and perhaps would have met again with Bubis but still held the same viewpoint about Auschwitz and the Shoah.

Walser also visited the museum a few days after the exhibit opened. He rushed to the display on the famous debate and left quickly. He was accompanied by bodyguards and did not talk to the journalists whom they ushered away. Why did Walser, who is never accompanied by bodyguards, make an exception for this visit? One can only speculate, but he may have wanted to underline that as an antagonist of Bubis he did not feel secure in the Jewish Museum. In any case it was a strange, even absurd sight.[3]

In summer 2007, Walser met Nobel Prize-winning author Günter Grass for a discussion between friends in the weekly Die Zeit. An impression was conveyed of two old friends chatting about literature and sharing thoughts and memories. World War II, however, was mentioned only casually, as if not really connected to them.[4] A year earlier Grass had finally revealed in his memoirs having been an SS member during the last weeks of the war. Also in summer 2007 the weekly Der Spiegel revealed that Walser, like other leading German writers, had been a member of the Nazi Party. These long-hidden facts had never inhibited Walser or Grass from pontificating to others about the German past or present U.S. and Israeli policies.

Linked to these topics is also the discourse about German wartime suffering, which might be called the self-victimization of Germany. As Anne Applebaum noted:

The country’s collective conscience was enlightened by the TV-serial Holocaust to an extent that could never have been achieved by historical science and all its publications. What imperative message, fuelled by emotionalism, is carried by today’s self-reconciliation trend? The discussion on victimhood has now been extended to include the perpetrators.[5]

Germany has far more memorials and museums for the former concentration camps, as well as Jewish museums, than other European countries. Much Holocaust education is given in schools and other learning institutions. Conferences and workshops are devoted to the subject to an extent that is nearly unique in Europe. Nevertheless, a clear self-perception prevails of the Germans as victims.

Despite supposedly being taboo, this theme has been one of the dominant narratives among German families since 1945.[6] Starting in the mid-1990s, it was embraced in the political and educational domains as well. But as narratives changed under the impact of historical debates and political developments, some of the German attitudes toward the Holocaust, the war, and issues such as flight and expulsion changed as well.

Holocaust Education in Germany

For a long time after 1945, commemoration in both Germanys was only a political issue. East Germany neglected the unique character of the Shoah and conflated it with fascism according to communist dogmas. West Germany took certain measures of remembrance and reconciliation in the 1950s, but there was no real public interest in questions of guilt and responsibility in the historical context.

Both German populations indulged for decades in a conspiracy of silence. A public discourse of the Holocaust did not exist. The Shoah and other German crimes against humanity were not present in textbooks or curricula in general.

It was only after the showing of Holocaust on TV that West Germany’s curricula began to change. Many educators, however, were bewildered as to how to teach the subject. Abstract phrases such as “Never again” and “Learning from the past” were used that did not give students a real connection to the past or to the impact of the Shoah in the present.

Classroom teaching on the Holocaust often was, and still is, deficient. It focused on statistics and dry descriptions of deportations or how the persecution developed through the racial and anti-Jewish laws. The courses generally culminated in Auschwitz by showing a documentary or some photos of piles of dead bodies. This approach often had no effect on the students; learning facts and statistics was not connected to personal experience and did not lead them to see the Holocaust as part of their own history, identity, and national consciousness. Immigrant students also often did not gain a connection to the Holocaust because they were not taught about it as something not only connected to Germany and Germans but also part of a European and worldwide legacy.

A major chance to improve Holocaust education was missed when Schindler’s List was first screened in 1994. This could have been an important opportunity to explore the theme of the “Righteous among the Nations” and why some chose to be rescuers instead of bystanders or perpetrators. The movie demonstrates that helping Jews was possible; by 2007 Yad Vashem had honored up to twenty thousand Righteous Gentiles in all of Europe. Yet the official narrative in Germany still upholds the claim that there was not much people could do, and Schindler is often characterized as a unique sort of hero.

If the movie had been accompanied with better educational material in Germany, it would have been possible to counteract the excuse of helplessness and the portrayal of Righteous Gentiles as heroes instead of human beings who wanted to help others. Many Holocaust educators in Germany now screen the movie to “prepare” students for a visit to a museum or memorial site but not as a tool for teaching values and responsibility.[7]

Although public discourse on the Nazi past intensified after the German unification in 1990, this did not mean issues of responsibility and victimhood were dealt with appropriately. Many educators mean well and go to teachers’ trainings and seminars about the Holocaust. Many educators belong to national and even international educational networks and know how to teach about the Holocaust so as to prevent minimization or indifference. But such educators are not the only ones who influence the young generation.

A major opportunity for those who teach about the Holocaust is the Memorial for the Murdered Jews in Europe that opened in Berlin in 2005. The “information center” that is located underneath the memorial enables visitors to obtain various types of information about the Shoah and, particularly important, the individuals involved including victims, perpetrators, Righteous Gentiles, and so on.[8]

Barriers to Overcome in Holocaust Education

The attitude of the young generation is also influenced by extreme positions. These have been gaining force in several regards:

1. Right-wing extremism and anti-Semitism have steadily increased since 1990.[9] Studies by various institutes confirm a stable anti-Semitism that has reached new dimensions. One survey found that 23 percent of the population are openly anti-Semitic and about 30-40 percent harbor hidden anti-Semitism.[10] Another survey by Stern in October 2007 found that 25 percent of the German population believes that National Socialism had its “good aspects.”[11] Harald Welzer, a social psychologist who has published books on the German narrative of the war and the Holocaust, suggested that this “low” rate is only based on political correctness and that the actual number holding such views is higher.[12]

In two federal states in eastern Germany, the ultranationalist NPD has won parliamentary seats. They use their democratically legitimated power to minimize the Holocaust and distort Holocaust commemoration, for example, by calling the Allied bombing of Germany the “Bomb Holocaust.”

2. Anti-Israeli/anti-Zionist, and therefore anti-Semitic, attitudes have increased in Germany since 2000. The outbreak of the Second Intifada, and the political and military reactions in Israel, prompted responses in Germany that were not confined to right-wing or left-wing extremists. Successful Holocaust education is not promoted when comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany, or between Israeli soldiers and Wehrmacht soldiers, abound in the media and public discourse. In May 2002, the weekly magazine Der Spiegel published a survey by NFO Infratest in which 25 percent agreed that “what the state of Israel does to the Palestinians is no different than what the Nazis did during the Third Reich to the Jews.”[13]

Teachers, journalists, and above all Holocaust education must make a clear distinction: the Arab-Israeli conflict has nothing in common with the Holocaust. The Shoah is a paradigmatic genocide. Bauer, as noted, has maintained that in its scope, scale, and totality it is the paradigmatic genocide in human history. The Shoah was genocide, but no other genocide was the Shoah. All other genocides share aspects of the paradigmatic one. Understanding the unique characteristics of these other genocides does not entail minimizing the Shoah.[14] To compare, however, the situation of the Palestinians with that of the Jews in Europe after 1933 is a blatant distortion.

3. Debates on restitution, art looting, and Aryanization still deeply affect the public discourse. Media coverage of the stories promotes prejudices such as that “the Jews” still gain money from the Holocaust, use the Holocaust against Germany and Europe for their own benefit, and loot European museums as, for example, in the 2006 case of Gustav Klimt’s Golden Adele in Vienna. The restitution to an heir of the woman portrayed in the painting was seen in Austria and also in part of German society as a theft.[15] The case of a painting by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner that had to be returned from Berlin to the heir of the former owner elicited similar reactions.

4. Because of the trend of self-victimization, the Allied bombing of Dresden, the sinking of ships with German refugees during the war, and the flight and expulsion of Germans from the east during and after the war often are not seen as a result of Nazi policies and German choices after 1933. Without clear differentiation, a common, global culture of suffering emerges. One can then excuse the genocide of the Armenians and not blame the Turkish policies of the time. One can equalize the Shoah and the expulsion of the Germans. One can ignore that it was the Hutus who slaughtered the Tutsis in Rwanda. One then fails, however, to learn any lessons about victims, perpetrators, bystanders, rescuers, and the reality of choosing among the different alternatives.

5. Immigrant children who are confronted with xenophobia also show tendencies to self-victimization, claiming that they are the Jews of today. This too is a minimization of the Shoah and the Jewish experience in Germany after 1933. If such attitudes spread, it means well-meant “preventive pedagogy” has failed. Xenophobia and Nazi anti-Semitism are different things. Present-day racism in Germany makes it difficult for colored or foreign people or immigrants to live in the country. But the situation is not as in Nazi Germany.

6. Immigrant students of Muslim background must be included in Holocaust education and not excluded on the basis that they had nothing to do with the crimes. There were righteous Muslims in Yugoslavia and Tunisia. There were Muslims who were bystanders and those who saved lives. Immigrant students should learn that their former countries, such as Tunisia, Morocco, or Bosnia, lost their Jewish communities as well, and that the Holocaust has a universal meaning: one can each and every day choose between being a bystander and helping people.

In some cases hatred of Jews unites radical Islamic youngsters with neo-Nazis; both groups want to eliminate Holocaust commemoration as well as Israel. Since spring 2007 a T-shirt has been visible that shows the face of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the slogan “My best friend is a foreigner,” although Nazis normally dislike foreigners.

7. Another outcome of errant Holocaust education and media messages is the curse heard in schools throughout Germany, not only in the lower-class suburbs: “You Jew!” or “You victim!” It is bad and contemptible to be a Jew or a victim. The Jew symbolizes what is deviant and ugly, the antithesis of one’s own group. The Jew is also the evil Israeli. And if the victim is a detestable figure, perhaps it is desirable to be a perpetrator?

Teachers’ strategies to prevent these tendencies often use problematic examples or express helplessness. Many teachers read The Diary of Anne Frank to ninth-grade classes when students are about fourteen. But Anne Frank was a girl and it is difficult for boys at that age to feel empathy for her. The approach to teaching these topics also tends to be far too intellectual for ninth grade.

Anne Frank, viewed almost as a saint in Holocaust iconography, is often reduced to her statement that ultimately she believes in the good of mankind. Her doubts and anger are marginalized. Moreover, in the end she died, and children do not gain a sense of hope and survival that is important for dealing with the Holocaust at such an age.

Moreover, she is a Jew and a victim and the curse “You Jew!” or “You victim!” is already common in the schoolyards. Holocaust education must avoid emotionally overwhelming students with the Anne Frank icon.  Children often are urged to identify with her, but there is no way to identify with someone who eventually died in a camp.

Instead of identification the goal should be empathy, and there are many other biographies and diaries of boys and girls during the Shoah. There are stories about rescued children and even children who rescued others. Such accounts make clear that no one was born a perpetrator or a bystander, and one has a choice. In addition to Schindler’s List, an appropriate movie that is used seriously in classrooms, there are also films such as Under the Mulberry Tree by Gila Almagor or documentaries such as Into the Arms of Strangers on the Kindertransport in 1938-1939. These and others tell about the Holocaust from a personal viewpoint-about rescue, survival, or coping with life after losing one’s parents. Such works helps students develop empathy by seeing through the eyes of youngsters their own age what the Holocaust meant on the personal level.

Holocaust education that excludes empathy or alternatively tries to overpower students with emotions, or that does not build on individual stories but instead uses statistics and harsh descriptions or images, will not succeed. The present Holocaust education does not prevent most students from adopting from their families the falsehoods they hear about these families’ behavior during the Nazi regime and the Holocaust.[16]

Holocaust education should portray Jews, and victims generally, as people who lived full lives with dreams, hopes, and talents, before or apart from their eventual victimhood. Students should be taught how not to be perpetrators or bystanders, how to be honest and caring individuals. The Holocaust also should be taught as a universal lesson for preventing segregation, dehumanization, and criminal behavior toward groups. The ideal should not be a utopian, multicultural society that embraces everyone, but the responsible citizen with humane values.

German Narratives Today

The mixture of a lack of knowledge, feeling fed up with the subject, and the discomfort many students experience toward it leads, together with the public discourse, to anti-Semitic stereotypes, comparisons between Israelis and Nazis and between Israel and Nazi Germany, and to the belief that Jews profit from the Holocaust. In 2005, 48 percent of Germans said Jews still “talk too much” about the Shoah.[17] Moreover, 65 percent would like to stop dealing with the years 1933-1945.[18]

Holocaust education can be a major factor in instilling greater concern for the past and hence also for the Jewish present. A barrier, however, is the traditional German narrative within the family. Since the war, German families have developed a perspective on the Holocaust that often justifies individual behavior during the Nazi era. Often it is claimed that one opposed the Nazis but due to circumstances could not do anything to help Jews or other persecuted people.[19] This narrative is already deeply rooted in German society. Harald Welzer has called it “cumulative idolization.”[20]

These notions transform the then German society from 1933 to 1945 into one that overall did not go along with the Nazis. The figures below reflect the image of German society from the standpoint of today’s narratives:

● 26 percent of Germans helped persecuted people.

● 13 percent of Germans were active in the resistance.

● Around 9 percent of Germans prayed for the persecuted.

● 17 percent of Germans always openly objected to Nazi propaganda.

● Only 1 percent of Germans were involved in crimes and only 3 percent were anti-Semites.[21]

Under the influence of these narratives and myths, less than 10 percent of Germans believe that their relatives were members of the Nazi Party.

The stories told in families sometimes adduce famous works such as the play The Devil’s General by Carl Zuckmayer, a German émigré, in which a German air force general commits suicide out of guilt. Well-known stories about hiding and rescue also are woven into these narratives in which families after many years “reveal” their heroic assistance to Jews during the war.

The Jews, then, are not as important as the aims of the Germans. Proofs are not needed; it is enough to tell about a piece of bread or some other assistance that was supposedly given to some camp inmate who was in the city to clear rubble after the Allied bombing, and the like. Many stories also focus on a Jew who was on the verge of deportation and received a warm coat, a last kindly word, and so on.

According to this outlook, anti-Semites, perpetrators, and bystanders were a tiny minority-the “other,” not oneself. It is therefore not surprising that books by, for example, Peter Longerich, Otto Dov Kulka and Eberhard Jäckel, or Robert Gellately on the bystanders, the pressure from the German people themselves for more anti-Jewish laws, and so on are not bestsellers, whereas author Jörg Friedrich with his comparisons between the bombing of German cities and the crematories of Auschwitz has sold tens of thousands of copies.[22]

Most Germans now believe there is too much talking and teaching about the Holocaust and want to set a limit. At the same time, mainstream Germany has produced a fairytale about the role of society at large during the Nazi period.

It appears, then, that native-German students of the third and fourth generations talk about the Holocaust and the victims in a way that their great-grandparents already did.[23] This means adopting the justifications of the bystanders and the perpetrators: no resistance was possible, Germans had to obey and would have been shot or deported to a concentration camp if they had done or said anything that was prohibited. The responsibility for the persecution and the Holocaust is mainly ascribed to Hitler and his close entourage while ordinary people are absolved.

In reality, after 1933 and above all during the war, nearly every German family engaged in profiteering by obtaining furniture, clothes, even cutlery, and so on from the storerooms where the property of the deported and murdered European Jews was piling up. But such facts and even knowledge are pushed aside. Instead, “alibis are adopted. Excuses are internalized.”[24]

Historian Guido Knopp, who is director for the public station ZDF of a large number of TV series on aspects of World War II, the Holocaust, the Third Reich, and its leaders, does much to promote this trend of rationalizing one’s own behavior. His documentaries often deny that there was any possibility to act against the Nazis. He and many other historians often distinguish sharply between Nazis and Germans. Thus, those who lost their homes or even families in the Allied bombing or were expelled after 1945 are “Germans.” The Nazis are such as Adolf Eichmann or ghetto administrators.

Indeed, history requires distinctions and not every German was a Nazi; some were persecuted or executed for political reasons. The Nazis, however, clearly were Germans (and Austrians, as well as collaborators from all over Europe).

Knopp presents in one of his numerous productions, a six-part series on the Holocaust, a former female camp guard from Bergen-Belsen named Helga Bothe who justifies her actions. She says she was not guilty because she only obeyed orders, and otherwise she would have been sent to a camp as well.[25] Her statement is shown without comment or contrast-such as a guard who helped inmates, a bystander who chose to help, a story of a Bergen-Belsen inmate, and so on. This fosters an impression of a National Socialism without National Socialists, a Holocaust without or nearly without perpetrators. Such narratives can be viewed as modern German myths.

Immigrant Muslim students in middle schools often either neglect or do not even attend the Holocaust lessons. In high schools, however, immigrant Muslims from the middle and upper class often side with the victims, primarily the Jews, to distinguish themselves from the German students.[26] The education system and individual teachers need to study both tendencies and deal with them appropriately.

Common goals of Holocaust education should be:

1. To give back to the victims their stories and history

2. To read and listen to their perspectives as a counterpart to the perpetrators’ views

3. To teach responsibility for one’s own attitudes and actions

4. To teach about the Righteous Gentiles as a way of demonstrating that one has a choice, that life is not deterministic and whether one is Christian, Muslim, atheist, or whatever, respecting the other means respecting humanity

5. To show how many individuals were lost in Europe-from France to Greece, from Tunisia to former Yugoslavia, from Poland to Ukraine. All these individuals participated in European culture, enriching societies and countries.

The attitude that should be adopted is well summarized in the “Living Legacy” of Holocaust survivors, proclaimed at Yad Vashem in 2002:

In Jewish tradition, the command to remember is absolute. But its obligation does not end with the cognitive act of memory-it must be connected to both meaning and action….We pass to you as well, the fundamental lesson of Judaism, that memory must be accompanied by action of ethical and moral intent….The Holocaust showed the world the extent of the destructive power of antisemitism and racism. Holocaust denial, as well as minimization and banalization of the Holocaust provide a means of avoiding the evident conclusions and learning the lessons for the future….The Holocaust, which established the standard for absolute evil, is the universal heritage of all civilized people. The lessons of the Holocaust must form the cultural code for education toward humane values, democracy, human rights, tolerance and patience and opposition to racism and totalitarian ideologies.

 

*    *     *

Notes

* This article is written by Susanne Y. Urban as part of her research, and is not connected to her work at Yad VaShem.

Publication of this issue was made possible in part by the support of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany (Rabbi Israel Miller Fund for Shoah Research, Documentation and Education) for the JCPA program on Contemporary Holocaust Distortion

[1] Yehuda Bauer, Rethinking the Holocaust (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001), 14ff., 267.

[2] www.juedischesmuseum.de/wechselausstellungen/bubis.html. [German]

[3] As described, e.g., at www.hr-online.de/website/rubriken/kultur/index.jsp?rubrik=5986&key=standard_document_31025802 [German]; Allgemeine Jüdische Wochenzeitung, 24 May 2007. [German]

[4] www.zeit.de/2007/25/L-Grass-Walser-Interview. [German]

[5] Anne Appelbaum, “Germans as Victims,” International Herald Tribune, 15 October 2003.

[6] Harald Welzer, Sabine Moller, und Karoline Tschuggnall, eds., Opa war kein Nazi. Nationalsozialismus und Holocaust im Familiengedächtnis (Frankfurt am Main: Fischer, 2002). [German]

[7] Yad Vashem has prepared a guidebook on teaching the Holocaust, available in several languages: www1.yadvashem.org/education/index_education.html.

[8] http://www.stiftung-denkmal.de/. [German]

[9] German opinion surveys on anti-Semitism include: Emnid (Zentralarchiv für empirische Sozialforschung, Cologne, 2418, 1994), Infratest Burke (Stern, 1996), FORSA (Die Woche, 1998), and Infratest Sozialforschung (Der Spiegel, 2002). The Anti-Defamation League conducts annual Europe-wide surveys on anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli attitudes in Europe: www.adl.org/main_Anti_Semitism_International/Default.htm.

[10] “Unser Verhältnis zu den Juden” (a survey by FORSA), Stern, 2003.

[11] Stern, 18 October 2007,

www.stern.de/politik/deutschland/:%0A%09%09stern-Umfrage%0A%09%09%09-Hatte-NS-Zeit-Seiten/600274.html.

[12] Harald Welzer, “Die 25 Prozent sind die Ehrlichen, ” Allgemeine Jüdische Wochenzeitung, 25 October 2007, 1.

[13] Der Spiegel, May 2002. [German]

[14] For Bauer’s research on genocide and the Shoah, see Bauer, Rethinking the Holocaust, and, e.g., www.un.org/holocaustremembrance/2006/events/bauer.htm.

[15] For more on the cases of art looting by the Nazis and restitution, see Hector Feliciano, Das verlorene Museum. Vom Kunstraub der Nazis (Berlin: Aufbau Verlag 1999) [German];

Jonathan Petropoulos, Kunstraub und Sammelwahn, Kunst und Politik im Dritten Reich (Berlin: Propyläen Verlag, 1999) [German]. On Klimt’s famous painting, see www.iht.com/articles/2006/07/18/features/klimt.php; www.3sat.de/3sat.php?http://www.3sat.de/kulturzeit/themen/94995/index.html [English].

[16] Welzer, Moller, und Tschuggnall, Opa war kein Nazi.

[17] www.adl.org/main_Anti_Semitism_International/Default.htm, 8.

[18] Wilhelm Heitmeyer, ed., Deutsche Zustände, Folge 4 (Frankfurt an Main: Suhrkamp, 2005) [German]; www.honestly-concerned.org/Heitmeyer2.htm.

[19] Welzer, Moller, und Tschuggnall, Opa war kein Nazi.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Robert Gellately, Hingeschaut und weggesehen. Hitler und sein Volk (München: DTV, 2002) [German]; Eric A. Johnson, Der nationalsozialistische Terror. Gestapo, Juden und gewöhnliche Deutsche (Berlin: Siedler, 2001) [German]; Otto Dov Kulka und Eberhard Jäckel, Die Juden in den geheimen NS-Stimmungsberichten (Düsseldorf : Droste, 2004) [German]; Peter Longerich, “Davon haben wir nichts gewusst!” Die Deutschen und die Judenverfolgung 1933-1945 (Munich: Siedler, 2006) [German]; Jörg Friedrich, Der Brand. Deutschland im Bombenkrieg (Berlin: Propyläen Verlag, 2002) [German]; idem, Brandstätten (Berlin: Propyläen Verlag, 2003) [German].

[23] Meik Zülsdorf-Kersting, “Identitätsstiftung durch das Grauen? Jugendliche und das Thema Holocaust,” Zeitschrift für Genozid-Forschung, 2 (2006): 67-90. [German]

[24] Ibid., 90.

[25] Part 6 of the serial Holokaust, ZDF, 21 November 2000.

[26] Zülsdorf-Kersting, “Identitätsstiftung. “

DR. SUSANNE Y. URBAN is a historian employed by Yad Vashem in the European Department of the International School for Holocaust Studies. She lives in Germany and Israel. Her research topics include German anti-Semitism, the history of Aliyat Hanoar (an organization for immigration to Israel of Jewish youngsters) from 1932 to 1948, and the history of Jewish Displaced Persons. She has published two books together with Israel’s first ambassador to Germany, Asher Ben Nathan. Another book on Jews at the Volkswagen factory in 1944-1945 was published in German and English. She also teaches at German universities.

About Dr. Susanne Urban

Dr. Susanne Urban is a historian who was employed between 2004 and 2009 at Yad Vashem. Since May 2009 she has served as Head of Historical Research at the International Tracing Service in Bad Arolsen. She has published two books together with Israel’s first ambassador to Germany, Asher Ben Nathan. Another book on Jews at the Volkswagen factory in 1944-1945 was published in German and English. She also teaches at German universities.