Memory and History

Essays in Contemporary History

by Lutz Niethammer (Author)
©2012 Monographs 453 Pages


This book brings together eighteen English language essays on the fringes, overlap, and tensions of memory and history that the author has published over the last three decades. It is characteristic that the two longest essays in this volume, and the most recent one, are reflections on the author’s ambiguity vis-à-vis autobiographical Ego-histoire, on his role and experiences as a government advisor during the international negotiations on compensation for Nazi forced labor, and on the contexts of the essays of this book. The author was also instrumental in bringing Oral History to Germany and making it academically respectable. So the second largest part of this book displays some examples of his approaches to German ‘Erfahrungsgeschichte’ West and East, and to their roots in and beyond the Nazi period, being analytical and literary at the same time. The third major group of essays documents some of the author’s interventions into intellectual and conceptual history: with the examples of ‘Collective Identity’ and ‘Posthistoire’ he shows the merits of investigative ‘Geistesgeschichte’ contesting mainstream intellectual assumptions. With the method of Comparative Considerations he tries to specify the situation of German Labor after the ‘Third Reich’, the mythological potential of Soviet Special Camps in Germany after World War II, or the perspectives of the German ‘Sonderweg’ after 1990.


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2012 (July)
Individual Memory Collective Memory Collective Identity Posthistoire Compensation of Nazi Forced Labour German History Third Reich Oral History
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2012. 453 pp., 1 fig., 9 tables

Biographical notes

Lutz Niethammer (Author)

Lutz Niethammer, born 1939 in Stuttgart, studied Theology, History, and Social Sciences mainly at Heidelberg. Professor of Modern History at Essen 1973, Hagen 1982, and Jena 1993, Emeritus 2005. Senior advisor, Imre Kertész Kolleg on Europe’s East in the 20th Century. Visiting scholar at Oxford, Paris, both Berlins of the later Cold War, Basle, Florence, Vienna, and Warsaw. Founding director, Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (Essen), member, Kuratorium Buchenwald, and government advisor on compensation for Nazi forced labor. His fields include German and European transformations after 1945 and after 1989, social and urban history, oral history, memory and generational studies, and intellectual history.


Title: Memory and History