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Acta Germanica

German Studies in Africa

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Edited By Cilliers van den Berg

Die ersten beiden Beiträge befassen sich mit der Vermittlung von Deutsch als Fremdsprache im südafrikanischen Kontext. Zwei Beiträge haben kollektives Gedächtnis und/oder Gedenken im Fokus: Der erste bezieht sich auf Gedächtnisregimes in Deutschland und der zweite auf die österreichische Erinnerungskultur. Die Flüchtlingskrise in Europa wird einerseits unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der europäischen Perspektiven auf afrikanische Flüchtlinge und andererseits unter Hinweis auf Beteiligung literarischer Texte am öffentlichen Diskurs über diese Krise untersucht. Die thematischen Zusammenhänge zwischen den Werken von Bettina von Arnim und Sophie Mereau zu Politik und Menschenrechten, deuten auf die historische Rolle, die Soziopolitik immer gespielt hat. Zwei Beiträge konzentrieren sich auf die Medien Film und Musik: F.W. Murnaus Nosferatu und zwei Lieder von M.-U. Kling und AnniKa von Trier werden diesbezüglich analysiert. Die abschließenden drei Artikel haben klassische literarische Texte im Fokus: Die Kapuzinergruft von Joseph Roth, W. G. Sebalds Die Ringe des Saturn und Die Verwandlung von Franz Kafka.

The first two contributions in this book focus on the teaching of German as a foreign language in the South African context. Two contributions engage with collective memory and/or commemoration: the first considering memory regimes in Germany and the second focusing on Austrian memory culture. The refugee crisis in Europe is evaluated with specific reference to European perspectives on African refugees and by looking at different ways in which literary texts participate in the public discourse on this crisis. An investigation into the thematic connections between the work of Bettina von Arnim and Sophie Mereau on politics and human rights indicates the historical role socio-politics has always played. Two contributions focus on the media of film and music: F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu and two songs by M.-U. Kling and AnniKa von Trier are analysed from this perspective. The concluding articles have classic literary texts as its focus: Joseph Roth’s Die Kapuzinergruft, W.G. Sebald’s Die Ringe des Saturn and Franz Kafka’s Die Verwandlung.

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The commemoration of 20 July 1944 and the contest for dominance of post-war memory regimes in Germany

The commemoration of 20 July 1944 and the contest for dominance of post-war memory regimes in Germany

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VOLKHER VON LENGELING

Rhodes University

Abstract

Memory regimes are established by those memories that garner the greatest public dissemination and acceptance. Amongst the various post-war memory regimes in Germany, the memory regime centred on the Holocaust has dominated since the 1980s. However, from the 1990s onwards German war time suffering slowly started to attract attention again. This German-centred memory regime, as well as the memory of 20 July 1944 (the von Stauffenberg-led attempt on Hitler’s life), became appropriated by right-wing political groups and this association resulted in further social disassociation, particularly concerning the Widerstand (Resistance). The importance of the Widerstand-centred memory was clearly displayed at this year’s official 75th commemoration of 20 July 1944 in Berlin. The leading German political body is increasingly appropriating Widerstand-centred memory, away from right-wing politics. This shift within the German post-war memory regimes can challenge the dominance of the Holocaust-centred memory.

Keywords: German politics, memory regimes, Nazi resistance, 20 July 1944, commemoration

Introduction

Germans this year celebrated the 75th anniversary of the assassination attempt of Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg on Adolf Hitler on 20 July 1944. Even though the attempt failed, the occasion is annually celebrated in honour of all Germans of the Widerstand (Resistance). As part of a research project in German Cultural Studies on the topoi of Widerstand and Vergangenheitsbewältigung (coming to terms with the past), it is appropriate that this paper examines the memory politics of Germany’s national...

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