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Journal volume 15, 2018, issue 2

Zeitzeugen / Contemporary Witnesses



Elke Gryglewski:
Zur künftigen Arbeit mit Zeitzeuginnen und Zeitzeugen in Gedenkstätten zur Erinnerung an die nationalsozialistischen Verbrechen (S. 165–176)

Imagining the day in which there will be no survivors left to give testimony about their persecution and suffering during National Socialism seems to be so threatening and paralyzing that in the debate on the inclusion of the testimonies of survivors into historical education important aspects are overlooked. The article reflects on who the survivors were and are today and on the function of including testimonies of survivors into educational contexts. It then introduces and discusses alternative methods of including the perspective of the persecuted into educational contexts, while at the same time fulfilling the standard of presenting history in a multi-perspective way. Everything is discussed under the premise that nothing can replace the experience of personal encounter with those who suffered persecution during National Socialism.

Verena Lucia Nägel:
Archivierte Zeugenschaft. Digitale Sammlungen von Interviews mit Überlebenden des Holocaust (S. 177–196)

In what has been called “The Era of the Witness” (Wieviorka 1998) an international movement emerged that has collected and recorded an incalculable number of interviews with Holocaust survivors worldwide. The quantity and varying quality, documentation and availability of the testimonies is a challenge for their use as an academic source. This article takes this fact as its starting point and provides an overview of the essential collections of interviews with Holocaust survivors in the German-speaking countries. It does not claim to be an exhaustive list, but rather attempts, on the basis of selected projects, to address different methodological approaches, the ways of indexing, and positions taken on the question of the publication. Based on this overview, essential questions regarding the provision and publication of oral history collections as well as the challenges of their academic use are identified.

Anika Binsch; Markus Roth:
Vom Zeitzeugen zum Textzeugen. Perspektiven für eine Zeit nach der Zeitzeugenschaft des Holocaust (S. 197–218)

Anika Binsch and Markus Roth develop a perspective for educational work after the repeatedly emphasised end of the era of the accounts of Holocaust eyewitnesses. The article is based on the assumption that this discussion is not a new one: Already during the Holocaust many victims feared that they would not survive and therefor left as many written testimonies as possible. They wanted to leave a ‘textual witness’ instead of themselves. The second part of the article illustrates that these textual testimonies can serve for achieving educational objectives that up to now have relied on personal interviews with Holocaust survivors. The authors advocate an approach to texts that goes beyond the focus on the history of events. They argue that this can be accomplished by understanding and respecting the written testimonies as individual interpretations of the respective reality as well as by analysing them by making use of literary approaches.

Christina Isabel Brüning:
Hologramme von Überlebenden in einer sich diversifizierenden Gesellschaft? (S. 219–232)

As technical opportunities develop, new forms of testimony are being created for educational purposes. The latest development are three-dimensional light projections (holograms) of survivors of the Holocaust that, via a very refined voice recognition software, react to users’ questions. The pre-recorded answers and images are currently being developed and started to put in use in Great Britain and in the US. This article discusses whether this new way of teaching and learning could also be suitable for our heterogeneous society here in Germany. At the same time, the current challenges of Holocaust Education are being pointed out to: Especially with regard to the concepts of Human Rights Education or Teaching Tolerance and fighting modern Anti-Semitism there are many misconceptions that need to be addressed before we start investing in and using new and extremely expensive technologies.

Peter Maser; Konrad H. Jarausch; Jürgen Reulecke mit Barbara Stambolis und Heide Glaesmer:
Wissenschaftler aus der Kriegskindergeneration als Zeitzeugen (S. 233–262)

The here documented panel debate goes back to a public evening event during a congress in Leipzig in November 2015 on “Childhood in the Second World War”. Three renowned scientists from the generation of Second World War children, born in the years 1940 to 1943, were invited. In conversation with Barbara Stambolis and hosted by Heide Glaesmer, Peter Maser, Konrad Jarausch and Jürgen Reulecke discuss in retrospect what it means to have been a war child. They devote themselves to generational impressions and explore the connection between personal experiences and their research as well as their social commitment. They formulate thoughtful reflections on transgenerational dimensions and current effects of war and experiences of violence. It seemed to be of particular interest to what extent experiences of one’s own are important for the current international comparative research of World War II children.

Book Reviews

Autobiographie als Apologie. Rhetorik der Rechtfertigung bei Baldur von Schirach, Albert Speer, Karl Dönitz und Erich Raeder
Göttingen (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht) 2017 / Autor: Roman B. Kremer
Rezension: André Postert (S. 265–267)

Marschall Schukow. Der Mann, der Hitler besiegte. Die Biographie
Berlin (Edition Berolina) 2017 / Autor: Philipp Ewers
Rezension: Manfred Zeidler (S. 268–271)

Die Waffen-SS: Geburt einer Legende. Himmlers Krieger in der NS-Propaganda
Paderborn (Ferdinand Schöningh) 2017 / Autor: Jochen Lehnhardt
Rezension: Roman Töppel (S. 272–277)

Kambodscha unter den Roten Khmer. Die Erschaffung des perfekten Sozialisten
Paderborn (Ferdinand Schöningh) 2017 / Autor: Daniel Bultmann
Rezension: Friedrich Pohlmann (S. 278–280)

Revolution in Potsdam. Eine Stadt zwischen Lethargie, Revolte und Freiheit (1989/90)
Leipzig (Evangelische Verlagsanstalt) 2017 / Autor: Rainer Eckert
Rezension: Helmut Müller-Enbergs (S. 280–282)

Assimilation oder Multikulturalismus? Bedingungen gelungener Integration
Berlin (LIT-Verlag) 2017 / Autor: Ruud Koopmans
Rezension: Anton Sterbling (S. 282–285)