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The Construction of European Holocaust Memory: German and Polish Cinema after 1989


Malgorzata Pakier

Is a common European Holocaust memory possible? The author approaches this question by analyzing Polish and German cinema after 1989, and the public debates on the past that have surrounded the filmic narratives. Of all media, cinema has exerted the broadest impact in the formation of collective memory regarding the Holocaust. Despite the distance in time, and especially since the fall of communism, this traumatic chapter in European history has come into ever sharper focus. Film makers have refracted evolving public awareness and in turn projected the dramas and images that inculcate mass opinion. This work examines these dynamic trends with regard to selected Polish and German feature films. The author shows how cinema opened hitherto taboo aspects to discussion. She reveals both a deep divide between the two countries, as well as significant similar trends in the memory of events.


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Design and Illustration: © Olaf Gloeckler, Atelier Platen, Friedberg Cover photograph: Film wheel. Five Amigos Broadcasting, The Chatham-Kent Daily Post. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Pakier, Małgorzata, 1979- The construction of European Holocaust memory : German and Polish cinema after 1989 / Małgorzata Pakier. pages cm. — (Warsaw Studies in Jewish History and Memory ; v. 3) Includes bibliographical references. ISBN 978-3-631-61903-2 1. Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945), in motion pictures. 2. Collective me- mory and motion pictures—Europe. 3. Motion pictures—Germany—Histo- ry—20th century. 4. Motion pictures—Poland—History—20th century. I. Title. PN1995.9.H53P36 2013 791.43'6358405318—dc23 2013018778 ISSN 2191-7493 ISBN 978-3-631-61903-2 © Peter Lang GmbH Internationaler Verlag der Wissenschaften Frankfurt am Main 2013 All rights reserved. PL Academic Research is an Imprint of Peter Lang GmbH. Peter Lang – Frankfurt am Main · Bern · Bruxelles · New York · Oxford · Warszawa · Wien All parts of this publication are protected by copyright. Any utilisation outside the strict limits of the copyright law, without the permission of the publisher, is forbidden and liable to prosecution. This applies in particular to reproductions, translations, microfilming, and storage and processing in electronic retrieval systems.

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