Werkstatt der Kulturen, Wissmannstr. 32, 12049 Berlin
Is Germany’s way of confronting its Nazi past exemplary? Formerly known as the country of perpetrators, since the 1980s at least the Federal Republic has gained an international reputation as a champion of repentance, its postwar history now appearing as a moral success story. From China to Rwanda and from Canada to Croatia, politicians and memory activists are talking about what their own countries or neighboring societies might learn from the “German model”. Milestone events such as Willy Brandt’s genuflection in Warsaw, the Historians’ Debate, or the Wehrmacht Exhibition are being invoked to highlight other countries’ supposed failure to atone for past crimes. What purpose do such references serve? What is the source of Germany’s new image? And what exactly might learning from Germany mean in practical terms?
The recent volume Replicating Atonement, edited by Mischa Gabowitsch, provides a systematic approach to answering these questions. Scholarly and personal essays cover uses of the “German model” in Argentina, Japan, former Yugoslavia, Canada, Lebanon, Rwanda, Russia, Turkey, and the U.S. South.
Nicolas Moll (Sarajevo) will provide a critical commentary on the book and discuss it with editor Mischa Gabowitsch and author Susan Neiman.
Nicolas Moll (Sarajevo) is a historian specializing in 20th century Europe and a freelance consultant on trans-European projects in the fields of civil society and memory work.
Peggy Piesche is a scholar of literary and cultural studies based at the Heinrich Böll Foundation’s Gunda Werner Institute for Feminism and Gender Democracy. Her research interests include diasporas and translocality as well as performative memory.
Mischa Gabowitsch is a sociologist and historian. He is a research fellow at the Einstein Forum and works on war memorials and commemorative practices, as well as protest and social movements.
Susan Neiman is a philosopher and director of the Einstein Forum. Her most recent book publications include Why Grow Up? Subversive Thoughts for an Infantile Age (2014) and Resistance of Reason (2017, in German). She is currently completing a book titled Learning from the Germans.
Andrés Nader is managing director of the RAA Berlin (Regional Center for Education, Integration, and Democracy). Among other topics, his research has focused on racism and anti-Semitism as well as ways to come to terms with past trauma and crime.