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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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Series Index


German Life and Civilization

German Life and Civilization provides contributions to a critical understanding of Central European cultural history from medieval times to the present. Culture is here defined in the broadest sense, comprising expressions of high culture in such areas as literature, music, pictorial arts, and intellectual trends as well as political and sociohistorical developments and the texture of everyday life. Both the cultural mainstream and oppositional or minority viewpoints lie within the purview of the series. While it is based on specialized investigations of particular topics, the series aims to foster progressive scholarship that aspires to a synthetic view of culture by crossing traditional disciplinary boundaries.

1 Charlotte L. Brancaforte: The German Forty-Eighters in the United States. 1989. US-ISBN 0-8204-1010-1.

2 Heinz D. Osterle (ed.): Amerika: New Images in German Literature. 1989. US-ISBN 0-8204-1058-6.

3 Luke Springman: Comrades, Friends and Companions. Utopian Projections and Social Action in German Literature for Young People 1926–1934. 1989. US-ISBN 0-8204-0963-4.

4 Peter Morris-Keitel: Die Verbrechensthematik im modernen Roman. 1989. US-ISBN 0-8204-1106-X.

5 Sussan Milantchi Ameri: Die deutschnationale Sprachbewegung im Wilhelminischen Reich. 1991. US-ISBN 0-8204-1119-1.

6 Michael Myers: Für den Bürger. The Role of Christian Schubart’s “Deutsche Chronik” in the Development of a Political Public Sphere. 1990. US-ISBN 0-8204-1168-X.

7 James W. Jones: “We of the Third Sex”. Literary Representations of Homosexuality in Wilhelmine Germany. 1990. US-ISBN 0-8204-1209-0.

8 Rachel J. Halverson:...

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