Stunde Null: The Holocaust and Memory after 1945
Dr. Adam Blackler
“National Socialism is a burden for all of us. It does not disappear and in some dark corners you can see that the notion of the Volksgemeinschaft (people’s community) still has an appeal. The crimes are part of general memory, the question ‘how was it possible?’ will not fade with the years and any shift to‘normality’ is in vain.”
Fritz Stern’s indictment on the consequences of Nazism remains as true now as it did when he first delivered it at the opening of the Haus der Wannsee-Konferenz in Berlin. The Holocaust is one of the defining tragedies of the twentieth century. Between the years 1939-1945, Nazi Germany orchestrated the murder of nearly twelve million men, women, and children living in Europe and the western expanse of the Soviet Union. Both the crime and its memory have indelibly shaped the lives of those it affected and forever transformed the cultural and political make-up of the European continent. This presentation will discuss how victims, perpetrators, bystanders, and national populations on both sides of the former “Iron Curtain” remember the crimes committed by the Third Reich. I will also show how the Nazis’ quest for racial purification and territorial expansion continue to affect our world today overseas and in the United States.