Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte 4 (2003)

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Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte 4 (2003)
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München 2003: Oldenbourg Verlag
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Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte
Redaktion Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte Institut für Zeitgeschichte, Leonrodstraße 46b, 80636 München,
Gabriele Jaroschka

Sehr geehrte Listenmitglieder,
das neue Heft der Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte inkl. der Bibliographie zur Zeitgeschichte ist erschienen.
In der Schriftenreihe der Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte beschäftigt sich Sven Keller mit der Bedeutung Josef Mengeles für seine Heimatstadt Günzburg.


Eckart Conze:
Aufstand des preußischen Adels. Marion Gräfin Dönhoff und das Bild des Widerstands gegen den Nationalsozialismus in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland.
The revolt of the Prussian aristocracy. Marion Gräfin Dönhoff and the image of the resistance against National Socialism in the Federal Republic of Germany.

This essay investigates the dimensions of public memory as conveyed in the media. This is achieved by using the example of the resistance against National Socialism, and especially by analysing the image of this resistance advocated in Marion Gräfin Dönhoff's publications over five decades. Among the German public, the image of the resistance against National Socialism has been greatly shaped by this influential Hamburg journalist, who died in 2002. Dönhoff's share in the creation, the installation and the conservation of a certain reading of history, which has its roots in the interpretation of the 20th July 1944 as a "moral struggle with the epitome of evil", can hardly be overestimated. The ramifications of Dönhoff's journalistic commitment are varied: they reach from establishing a tradition for the young Federal Republic, to the reconsolidation of Germany's aristocracy after 1945 and its integration into the West German society, as well as social and cultural criticism.

Lothar Gruchmann:
"Generalangriff gegen die Justiz"? Der Reichstagsbeschluß vom 26. April 1942 und seine Bedeutung für die Maßregelung der deutschen Richter durch Hitler.
"General attack against justice?" The Reichstag's decision of 26th April 1942 and its importance for Hitler's disciplining of the German judges.

The literature on justice during the Third Reich predominantly evokes the impression that Hitler convened the Reichstag on 26th April 1942 solely in order to launch a "general attack" against justice and to have the right confirmed to remove judges from their office without special proceedings. It is therefore often claimed that the Reichstag's decision of April 1942 was a turning point for justice in the Third Reich. In reality, Hitler intended to make all members of the Wehrmacht, the administration, the justice, the economy and the party use their last resources after the military winter crisis of 1941/42, and to threaten everybody showing defiance with the possibility of being punished by means outside the bounds of the law. The only instance in which it can be proved that Hitler wanted to dismiss a magistrate from his office and rob him of his title and his pension on grounds of the April laws took place in July 1942. The outcome was merely that the judge was transferred to another department. It can be concluded that the Reichstag's decision did not have any real importance for Hitler's disciplining of judges, but the mere threat of its consequences was sufficient for many judges to comply more willingly with justice being controlled from above, and to try to fulfil the expectations of the political leadership more eagerly than before.

Wolfgang Schmidt:
Die Wurzeln der Entspannung. Der konzeptionelle Ursprung der Ost- und Deutschlandpolitik Willy Brandts in den fünfziger Jahren.
The roots of detente. The conceptional origin of Willy Brandt's policy on Germany and her relations to Eastern Europe in the 1950s.

For many years, Willy Brandt's policy on Germany and her relations to Eastern Europe has been regarded as a mere reaction to the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961. In the view of the author, however, the roots of detente can be traced back to the 1950s. Many of Brandt's speeches and articles reveal that he had started to map out the basic ideas of his later Ostpolitik as early as 1955. Even then he was convinced that the two superpowers shared a common interest in avoiding mutual destruction in a nuclear war. Therefore, they were, in Brandt's view, forced to seek a policy of coexistence and detente. As he assumed there to be a nuclear stalemate between the United States and the Soviet Union, Brandt saw, long before 1961, that German unity could only be restored within the framework of a peaceful solution of the East-West-conflict. In order to promote the transformation of the communist system in the long run, Brandt favoured a policy which gave priority to economic, scientific and cultural exchange, and to humanitarian relief across the iron curtain, rather than pursuing an illusionary policy of reunification, as had been followed both by the CDU/CSU under Adenauer and by the SPD under Ollenhauer. Brandt aimed at preserving the coherence of the divided nation in both parts of Germany. Hence, Willy Brandt pleaded for extending contact and technical agreements between the governments in Bonn and East Berlin from the 1950s.

Michael Thad Allen:
Anfänge der Menschenvernichtung in Auschwitz, Oktober 1941. Eine Erwiderung auf Jan Erik Schulte.
The beginnings of the mass extermination in Auschwitz, October 1941. A reply to Jan Erik Schulte.

There is firm evidence that the extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau was planning a factory-like system of the murder of the European Jews in October of 1941. This should be no surprise. At precisely this time the SS was seeking semi-mechanized means of murder everywhere else in eastern occupied Europe. Evidence that genocide was planned at Auschwitz-Birkenau in October 1941 casts doubt upon recent arguments advanced in Holocaust studies and contemporary German history which seek to push the date for a "Gesamtlösung" or "Final Solution" to the Jewish Question well into the spring/summer of 1942. This scholarship is characterized here as "Neo-Functionalism". Jan Erik Schulte's recent article in VfZ is typical of this Neo-Functionalist approach. He argues that no coherent plan for the murder of the European Jews can be presumed any earlier than May 1942, at least at Auschwitz. There can be no doubt that the implementation of genocide was irregular and fraught with contradictions. This was true at Auschwitz as elsewhere. Yet when the history of the Holocaust at Auschwitz is put in proper perspective, what impresses is the overwhelming push throughout the entire apparatus of the SS to achieve the mechanized means of genocide by October of 1941. This implies a higher level of resolve and coordination than Neo-Functionalist interpretations can account for.

Bernd Bonwetsch, Bernd Bonwetsch:
Stalin und die Vorbereitung des 3. Parteitags der SED. Ein Treffen mit der SED-Führung am 4. Mai 1950.
Stalin and the preparations for the third Party Congress of the SED. A meeting with the leaders of the SED on May 4th, 1950.

The 3rd Party Congress of the SED was due to be held from July 20th to 24th, 1950. The most important decisions to be taken were the Five-Year-Plan, the first one to be implemented in the newly founded East German state, the new party statute of the SED, and the preparations for the General elections in the GDR, set for October 15th. In preparation for these decisions, Pieck, Grotewohl and Ulbricht, with Oelssner as interpreter, travelled to Moscow for consultations. On May 4th, they were received in the Kremlin and had a three-hour meeting with Stalin. The minutes of the meeting, formerly kept in the Presidential Archive, but now in the Russian State Archive for Social and Political History (RGASPI), are published in full. The most important result of the meeting was that reparations were reduced by half. Other results were the agreement to increase workers' wages, to a much higher extent than the SED had intended, and other economic decisions that were designed to improve the election prospects for the SED.

Schriftenreihe der Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte, Band 87:
Sven Keller
Günzburg und der Fall Josef Mengele
Die Heimatstadt und die Jagd nach dem NS-Verbrecher
2003. 211 S.

Josef Mengele (1911-1979), Spross einer Günzburger Unternehmerfamilie, war einer jener Mediziner, die auf der Rampe von Auschwitz Abertausende in die Gaskammern schickten, und er nutzte seine Verfügungsgewalt über die Gefangenen zu grausamen Menschenversuchen mit meist tödlichem Ausgang. Als "Todesengel" von Auschwitz war er jahrelang der meistgesuchte NS-Verbrecher der Welt. Da er 1949 mit Hilfe seiner Familie nach Südamerika geflohen war, wo er sich erfolgreich verbarg, musste er sich jedoch nie für seine Taten verantworten. Ein erster Haftbefehl erging 1958, aber erst im Zuge des Frankfurter Auschwitzprozesses (1963-1965) wurde eine breite Öffentlichkeit auf Josef Mengele aufmerksam. Schnell rückte damit auch seine Heimatstadt Günzburg in den Fokus von Ermittlern und Medien. Es entstand der "Günzburg-Mythos": Die soziale und ökonomische Vorrangstellung der Unternehmerfamilie Mengele nährte die Vorstellung, der ganze Ort sei in eine Verschwörung zum Schutze des flüchtigen Massenmörders eingebunden.

Sven Keller analysiert im Kontext der Biografie Mengeles und der Entwicklungsphasen westdeutscher Vergangenheitsbewältigung die Projektionen, mit denen die schwäbische Kleinstadt von außen belegt wurde, und die Reaktionen von Bürgern und Kommunalpolitik auf den "Günzburg-Mythos" - ein Mythos mit immerhin einem wahren Element: Als 1985 bekannt wurde, dass Josef Mengele sechs Jahre zuvor beim Baden ertrunken war, erfuhr die Öffentlichkeit auch, dass der engste Familienkreis bis zuletzt Kontakt mit ihm gehalten und noch seinen Tod verschwiegen hatte.

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