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n Literator : Journal of Literary Criticism, Comparative Linguistics and Literary Studies - Germany : facing the Nazi past today

Volume 30, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0258-2279
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Abstract

This article gives an overview of the changing debate on National Socialism and the question of guilt in German society. Memory had a different meaning in different generations, shaping distinct phases of dealing with the past, from silence and avoidance to sceptical debate, from painful "Vergangen-heitsbewältigung" to a general memory of suffering.


In present-day Germany, memory as collective personal memory has faded away. At the same time, literature has lost its role as a main medium to mass media like cinema and television. Furthermore, memory has become fragmented. Large groups of members of the German society, like immigrants, see the past from a different perspective altogether. Although the remembrance of the time of National Socialism is still a distinctive part of Germany's political culture, it has become more generalised, with "Holocaust memory" as a globalised symbol for a fundamental "break" in Western culture.


Hierdie artikel gee 'n oorsig oor die veranderende debat oor Nasionaal-Sosialisme en die kwessie van 'n skuldgevoel in die Duitse gemeenskap. Die skrywer bemerk dat "onthou" verskillende betekenisse vir verskillende generasies gehad het en dat dit 'n bepaalde vorm gegee het aan die verwerking van bepaalde fases van die verlede, van stilte en vermyding tot skeptiese debat, van 'n pynlike aanvaarding van die verlede tot 'n algemene herinnering aan lyding.
In die Duitsland van vandag het onthou as 'n gemeenskaplike, persoonlike herinnering verdwyn. Terselfdertyd het literatuur sy rol as hoofmedium aan die massamedia van rolprente en die televisie afgestaan. Geheue het boonop gefragmenteerd geraak. Groot groepe in die Duitse gemeenskap, byvoorbeeld immigrante, beskou die verlede uit totaal verskillende perspektiewe. Alhoewel die herinnering aan die tyd van Nasionaal-Sosialisme steeds 'n definitiewe deel van die Duitse politieke kultuur vorm, het dit veralgemeen geraak, met die "volksmoord-herinnering" as 'n globale simbool vir 'n fundamentele breuk in die Westerse kultuur.

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/content/literat/30/3/EJC62110
2009-12-01
2016-12-10

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