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Book Review

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Beschweigen und Bekennen is based on the proceedings of a symposium held in Dachau in April 2000. As the title suggests, the aim of the volume is to examine German responses to the Holocaust since the end of World War II. Following a brief introduction by Norbert Frei, the six essays by symposium contributors are organized in roughly chronological order beginning with treatments of the immediate post-war period and ending with the 1990s. The volume concludes with a transcript of the closing podium discussion. The central questions driving both the essays and the discussion are: how does increasing temporal distance to the event affect public attitudes and commemorative practice in Germany? How much and what kind of remembrance was possible at different times? What is the connection between history and memory and how has this been used and abused in scholarship? A corollary to the first question is the role of generation differences and how these affect perceptions of the pas, yet the essay contributors are without exception of fairly recent vintage: all were born between 1959 and 1969. It is not until the podium discussion that a wider sweep of generations is included and clear differences in perceptions and expectations come to the fore.

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Copyright © 2004 Purdue University Press. This article first appeared in Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies 22:3 (2004), 160-162.

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