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Remembering Rosenstrasse

History, Memory and Identity in Contemporary Germany


Hilary Potter

In February 1943 intermarried Germans gathered in Berlin’s Rosenstrasse to protest the feared deportation of their Jewish spouses. This book examines the competing representations of the Rosenstrasse protest in contemporary Germany, demonstrating how cultural memories of this event are intertwined with each other and with concepts of identity. It analyses these shifting patterns of memory and what they reveal about the dynamics of the past–present relationship from the earliest post-unification period up to the present day. Interdisciplinary in its approach, the book provides insights into the historical debate surrounding the protest, accounts in popular history and biography, an analysis of von Trotta’s 2003 film Rosenstraße, and an exploration of the multiple memorials to this historical event.

The study reveals that the protest’s remembrance is fraught with competing desires: to have a less encumbered engagement with this past and to retain a critical memory of the events that allows for a recognition of both heroism and accountability. It concludes that we are on the cusp of witnessing a new shift in remembering that reflects contemporary socio-political tensions with the resurgence of the far right, noting how this is already becoming visible in existing representations of the Rosenstrasse protest.

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Dr Claudia Schoppmann, Berlin, 17 July 2006.

Dr Gabriele Camphausen, Berlin, 25 July 2006.

Dr Wolf Gruner, Berlin, 18 July 2006.

Archive Sources

Archive for the Files of the State Security Service of the German Democratic Republic (BstU), Berlin, MfS, Ast, I–7163 G.A. Band 30–48.

Centrum Judaicum Archive (CJA) at the New Synagogue, Oranienburgerstraße, Berlin Bestand 4.1, Kartei von Anträgern auf eine Anerkennung als „Opfer des Faschismus” / „Opfer der Nürnberger Gesetzgebung” (B, P and U).

Wiener Library, London.

049–EA–0663 / P.III.b.No.860.

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