Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Germany Studies Holocaust

From the DW:
"Germany establishes its first Holocaust Studies professorship"

Although Germany has been actively researching the Holocaust since the 1960s, it did not have any specific research professorships until now. Historian Sybille Steinbacher is about to change that.  Seventy years after the Holocaust, it is a measure that seems long overdue. The Goethe University Frankfurt presented on Wednesday its newly appointed professor, Sybille Steinbacher, the historian who has taken on Germany's first professorship for Holocaust Studies. The renowned researcher was until recently professor for Dictatorship, Violence and Genocide Comparative Studies at the Vienna University. From May 1, she has been the director of the Fritz Bauer Institute of the Frankfurt University. This institute, named after the Jewish public prosecutor who initiated the Auschwitz trials, has been exclusively dedicated to researching the history and impact of the genocide on the Jews.  Steinbacher sees the establishment of the new institute in Frankfurt as an "important signal." She believes there are sill many aspects of the Holocaust that need to be researched. "Some might think that we already know everything about Auschwitz, but that is certainly not the case," she said. "Especially in the perpetrators' country, we can never forget," added Hessian Minister of the Economy, Boris Rhein, also present to introduce the new professor on Wednesday. The Hessian state is supporting the Fritz-Bauer Institute with 375,000 euros ($417,000) this year and the Holocaust professorship with a further 150,000 euros.  In other countries such as the United States, the Netherlands, Sweden, Poland and Austria, specialized Holocaust Studies already exist. It is therefore long overdue in Germany. However, even without a specific Holocaust professorship, Germany has been researching the crimes of the Nazi regime for years. In Munich, the Institute for Contemporary History established its own Center for Holocaust Studies. In Leipzig, the Simon Dubnow Institute for Jewish History and Culture has been focusing on genocide research and Berlin-Brandenburg has a Center for Jewish Studies. There is also research being done in the country's numerous Holocaust museums and hundreds of memorial sites.

^ It seems that Germany continues to have to make up for its mistakes of the past: not only with regards to planning and carrying out the Holocaust during World War 2, but also with the post-war decades of not punishing the murderers and not stepping-up as a society to renounce the crimes committed in their name and working hard to make sure those horrible crimes were never allowed to happen within Germany ever again. From 1945 until the 1970s most Germans were like ostriches with their "heads in the sand" whenever it came to the war or the Holocaust. They believed that if they didn't talk about it then the crimes just went away. In more recent years the newer generations of Germans (those that were the 2nd and 3rd generation born after the war) are now making a concentrated effort to make up for the crimes committed by their Grandparents and Great-Grandparents. The creation of the German Holocaust Professorship is long over-due and hopefully will help to fix the tarnished history of Germany not only from 1933 to 1945 but also from 1945 until the 1970s. ^


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