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Studies in German History
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Between Mass Death and Individual Loss
The Place of the Dead in Twentieth-Century Germany
Edited by Alon Confino, Paul Betts and Dirk Schumann
Published in Association with the German Historical Institute, Washington, D. C.
344 pages, bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-84545-397-8 $120.00/£85.00 Hb Published (July 2008)
ISBN 978-0-85745-169-9 $34.95/£24.00 Pb Published (September 2011)
eISBN 978-0-85745-051-7 eBook
“Understood as a starting point for further inquiries into practices of mourning, burial and grief, this volume deserves broad attention, not least because it succeeds in embedding its case studies within a broad cultural, social and political history.” • European History Quarterly
“Taken together, this volume is a welcome departure from the usual literature on memory and trauma which ignores what came before the war and treats what happened after only in relation to the Holocaust. This excellent volume enables us to look at the history of death as a whole beyond the break of 1945 and to see influences and continuities throughout the last century. The volume delivers on the promise of the introduction to open up new avenues for research and raise new questions and should be a welcome addition to the library of every scholar of modern Germany.” • German Politics & Society
“[The volume] offers a significant contribution to theories of death and memory work in German Studies. [It] is clearly organized using theme-based sections, which lead the reader through material culture as well as psychological investigation; the essays are well-researched and cogently written.” • German Studies Review
“Taken together, the volume provides more than the sum of its individual contributions and actually succeeds in offering new perspectives on a hitherto neglected topic. Several essays demonstrate persuasively the myriad ways in which the ghosts of the dead haunted the living in twentieth-century Germany…for anybody interested in the social and cultural history of death in Germany, this volume will be an indispensable starting point.” • German History
Recent years have witnessed growing scholarly interest in the history of death. Increasing academic attention toward death as a historical subject in its own right is very much linked to its pre-eminent place in 20th-century history, and Germany, predictably, occupies a special place in these inquiries. This collection of essays explores how German mourning changed over the 20th century in different contexts, with a particular view to how death was linked to larger issues of social order and cultural self-understanding. It contributes to a history of death in 20th-century Germany that does not begin and end with the Third Reich.
Alon Confino is Professor of History at the University of Virginia. He has written substantially on nationhood, memory, and historical method. His new book is Foundational Pasts: An Essay in Holocaust Interpretation (CUP, 2011).
Paul Betts is Professor of European History at the University of Sussex. He is the author of The Authority of Everyday Objects: A Cultural History of West German Industrial Design (Berkeley, 2004) and Within Walls: Private Life in the German Democratic Republic (Oxford, 2010). He was Joint Editor of the journal German History, 2004-2009.
Dirk Schumann is Professor of Modern and Contemporary History at Georg-August University, Göttingen. His most recent books include Raising Citizens in the "Century of the Child“: The United States and German Central Europe in Comparative Perspective (Berghahn, 2010, edited), Political Violence in the Weimar Republic, 1918–1933: Fight for the Streets and Fear of Civil War (Berghahn, 2009).
Subject: 20th Century History General Cultural Studies
Paul Betts, Alon Confino, Dirk Schumann
PART I: BODIES
Chapter 1. How the Germans Learned to Wage War. On the Question of Killing in the First and Second World Wars
Chapter 2. The Shadow of Death in Germany at the End of the Second World War
Chapter 3. Rebuilding and Reburying: Emergency Cemeteries in Berlin after ‘Zero Hour’
PART II: DISPOSAL
Chapter 4. Fanning the Flames – Cremation in Late Imperial and Weimar Germany
Chapter 5. Disposing of the Dead in East Germany, 1945 – 1990
Felix Robin Schulz
Chapter 6. Death in Munich. The 1972 Olympics
Chapter 7. When Cold Warriors Die: The State Funerals of Konrad Adenauer and Walter Ulbricht
PART III: SUBJECTIVITY
Chapter 8. A Common Experience of Death: Commemorating the German-Jewish Soldiers of the First World War, 1914-1923
Chapter 9. Laughing about death? `German Humor´ in the Two World Wars
Chapter 10. Death, Spiritual Solace, and Afterlife. Between Nazism and Religion
Chapter 11. Yizkor! Commemoration of the Dead by Jewish Displaced Persons in Postwar Germany
PART IV: RUINS
Chapter 12. The Imagination of Disaster. Death and Survival in Postwar West Germany
Chapter 13. European Melancholy and the Inability to Listen: Sebald, Politics, and Death
Chapter 14. A Cemetery in Berlin
Notes on contributors
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