Mittelweg 36, Zeitschrift des Hamburger Instituts für Sozialforschung 14 (2005), 3

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Mittelweg 36. Zeitschrift des Hamburger Instituts für Sozialforschung
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Hansel, Patricia

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Klaus Naumann: Vertreibung. Ein Problem deutscher Selbstthematisierung
(Summary: Expulsion as a Problem of German Self-Understanding
To better understand the trajectory of »flight and expulsion« as a focal point of the post-war politics of history, one must examine the dominant discourse on constitutional law in the Federal Republic of Germany. With the decision to apply the theory of the continuation of the German Reich to the newly established West German state, the issues of contested borders, expulsion, status and compensation, and a specific concept of German citizenship formed the core of German self-understanding. The pre-unification Federal Republic cultivated an ambivalent self-understanding situated between »interim status«, »newly established«, and »successor to the Reich«. The results were political blockades as well as unforeseen opportunities for development. There was no need to lift a taboo on the theme »expulsion«, since it was written into the form of statehood adopted by the Federal Republic of Germany.)

Jan Pauer: Zähe Erinnerung. Der tschechisch-deutsche Dissens über die Vertreibung
(Summary: German-Czech Dissent about Expulsion
The reasons for divergent assessments of the catastrophic impacts of World War II, which continue to strain German-Czech relations, are explored in this article. Although the two countries share concurrent interests when it comes to fundamental political issues, the Czech Republic’s relations with its neighbor as well as its status in the European Union remain overshadowed by controversy over the interpretation of the so-called Beneš Decrees Discourse on German victimhood and official government positions with respect to compensation claims formulated by the Federations of Expellees have provoked Czech fears that what in fact lies behind German demands for Czech recognition of moral responsibility is a desire to revise the legal and political realities established in the aftermath of World War II. A dialogue that began in an open and self-critical atmosphere on both sides has since given way to a climate of suspicion, in which different cultures of memory collide.)

Hans-Jürgen Bömelburg: Gestörte Kommunikation. Der polnische Monolog über Flucht und Vertreibung und seine deutsch-polnischen Ursachen
(Summary: Failed Communication: The Polish Monologue about Flight and Expulsion and Their German-Polish Causes
In the early post-war period, as Polish society underwent a process of establishing and affirming its self-understanding, the forced expulsion of Germans after World War II and Polish moral responsibility for these acts was not an issue. The subject was first broached in public in 1965 in a letter sent by the country’s Catholic bishops to their German colleagues and later, in 1981, in an essay published in exile by J. J. Lipski. It was not until 1993, however, that a public debate about the fate of German expellees emerged that also addressed the question of Polish guilt; this debate was facilitated by a new focus on the Poles’ own experience of expulsion during the war. Discussion came to a halt in 2002 as German expellees’ associations demanded that their role as victims be acknowledged. According to a widely held Polish position, the stance of these German expellees’ groups linked historical-ethical assessments, material interests, and attempts to assert revised German accounts of historical events. Currently, a non-nationalistic Polish discourse about expulsion continues to be impeded by extremists in political circles and the media. Their perspective on these issues has promoted attempts to compare German and Polish guilt and losses that serve the interests of domestic politics. If the question of Polish guilt is raised at all, then only in ritualistic religious language.)


Michael Wildt: Alys Volksstaat. Hybris und Simplizität einer Wissenschaft
(Summary: Aly’s Volksstaat: Hubris and Simplicity of an Academic Discipline
Rather than focusing on the strengths of Götz Aly’s recent book about Hitler’s Volksstaat, this contribution primarily addresses problems of method and content. Aspects discussed include the author’s arithmetic representation of hegemonic relations, the reduction of modern theories of action to the concept of human beings as mere agents of their own interests, and Aly’s systematic disregard for the role of anti-Semitism. How the book relates to current political issues and, in particular, Götz Aly’s hypothesis about the extension of goals pursued by the Nazi Volksstaat in the social policies of the Federal Republic of Germany, is also considered.)

Matthias N. Lorenz: Deutsche Opfer, deutsche Tugenden. Zur Rehabilitierung des »Volkskörpers« in Martin Walsers »Eiche und Angora«
(Summary: German Victims, German Virtues: On the Rehabilitation of the Volkskörper in Martin Walser’s Eiche und Angor
Martin Walser’s interventions on German self-identity have made him a controversial author; whereas critics have raised charges of »literary anti-Semitism”, his defenders consider him–as a writer whose work reflects a preoccupation with his country’s Nazi past that began as early as the 1960s–immune to such critic. Taking both arguments seriously, Walser’s allegedly untenable positions on the Holocaust are reviewed, based on his first drama on the subject, Eiche und Angora (1961-62). With this reading of the play as a commentary to the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem, also taking place in 1961-62, the author argues that this piece–commonly considered to belong to the canon of West German works representing post-war Vergangenheitsbewältigung (coming to terms with the past)–in fact renders purportedly »typically German« character traits such as specialization and subordination as positive qualities. Walser fantasizes the German people as an innocent Volkskörper (body of the people) that suffered injuries in the political sphere, both at the hands of the Nazis and of the world public in the post-1945 era.)

Wolfgang Kraushaar: Aus der Protest-Chronik


Jan Philipp Reemtsma: Der doppelte Don. Wielands verkanntes Spiel mit Cervantes

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