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Unformatted text preview: 3-1-03# 1Stamp collectors and even ordinary people will have already realized this, but for two or three years now, on German postage stamps, it's not the old fashioned "Deutsche Bundespost" any longer, it's just the plain self assured "Deutsch land." Is this an indication of national normalization? (1) Is it a step toward the new full fledged, all German Berlin Republic outshining the homely Bonn Bundesrepublik (Federal Republic of Germany)? (1) There are people in Germany who see it this way. Many of them felt that 1995, which marked 50 years since the end of Great Germany, should signal the end of what was and is perceived as humiliating and fruitless endeavors of Vergangenheitsbewältigung “Mastery of the Past”, coming to terms with that unwholesome and deeply agonizing Great German past. A national normalization of this rather questioning kind may well be under way. Yet, there is also a strong counter normalization going on, a grassroots movement of present day ordinary Germans who, after decades of stale commemorative speeches and detached academic expertise, want to find out themselves, want to face the facts and the reality, want to see those other, gone by ordinary Germans as they really were. This sort of normalization means accepting, instead of shunning, the burden of the Great German past. This sort of normalization may be one of the more constructive outcomes of the democracy in the now waning postwar Bundesrepublik.(1)The emerging Berlin Republic would be well advised to build on a normalization of such down to earth democratic competence. Three recent events testify to the new trend for a democratically normal, facts facing perspective on the Great German past. The first was Victor Klemperer's widely acclaimed chronicle of Jewish everyday life in Germany, I Will Bear Witness, 1933--13-1-03# 11945,2 vols. (2). The second event was the equally successful exhibit, Vernichtungskrieg, Verbrechen der Wehrmacht 1941--1944, under the sponsorship of the Hamburg Institut für Sozialforschung, 1996--97. (3)The last and most dramatic event was the reception of Daniel Goldhagen's bestselling Hitlers Willing Executioners. (4). As of December 1997, more than 150,000 copies have been sold in Germany. (4)Goldhagen's clearest and most forceful thesis is that an old established, deep-seated, vicious, and visceral anti-Jewish mentality ("eliminationist anti-Semitism") (4) among many ordinary Germans accounts for the deliberate and willful terrorizing and killing of Jewish children, women, and men in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s. When the American version appeared in March 1996, the first German reactions were relatively short, often glaringly boring, and published mostly in news dailies and magazines, related to this original version. However, when the German language edition was published by Siedler Verlag in August 1996(4), the interest and pro Goldhagen sentiment of the ordinary German public was immense. Within two months 100,000 sentiment of the ordinary German public was immense....
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- Spring '11
- Goldhagen, ordinary Germans, Great German past, german national character