“Perpetrators or Victims? Understanding the Hitler Youth Generation” Presentation notes and PowerPoint
Talking of his SS involvement, Grass states he lived in a “recurrent sense of shame” (Scham verschweigen), and no matter what he did the “burden remained” (doch die Last blieb), while “no-one could alleviate it” (niemand konnte sie erleichtern).
Thank you for all who came to the Contemporary History Workshop presentation (and especially to the conveyors!) on Feb 24, 2015 at Cambridge University. We had a great discussion with a lot of questions concerning the ‘perpetratorhood’ and ‘victimhood’ of the Hitler Youth generation. There is, of course, no direct answer to this question, but more complex analysis is nevertheless necessary. The source material is controversial in its own right, which makes it even more worth to discuss today–almost 70 years since the end of the European front of World War II.
The first part of this paper has a more theoretical focus: I first talk about the meaning of the word “memoir” in conjunction with “autobiography”, briefly discuss the “memory boom” of the 20th century, and lastly, discuss the polemics of “collective memory.” My second part focuses on the Hitler Youth Generation and the memoirs that many wrote. Lastly, I talk very briefly about the discussion surrounding famous HY memoirs in Germany.
Download the full presentation notes here: 2015.2.24ContemporaryHistoryWorkshopPaper
Download the PowerPoint (supplement) here: 24.2ContemHistPPt
Do not redistribute without explicit permission from Tiia Sahrakorpi.
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