Legacies of Dachau : The Uses and Abuses of a Concentration Camp, 1933-2001
Overview - Dachau was the first among Nazi camps, and it served as a model for the others. Situated in West Germany after World War II, it was the one former concentration camp most subject to the push and pull of the many groups wishing to eradicate, ignore, preserve and present it. Read more...
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More About Legacies of Dachau by Harold Marcuse
Dachau was the first among Nazi camps, and it served as a model for the others. Situated in West Germany after World War II, it was the one former concentration camp most subject to the push and pull of the many groups wishing to eradicate, ignore, preserve and present it. Thus its postwar history is an illuminating case study of the contested process by which past events are propagated into the present, both as part of the historical record, and within the collectively shared memories of different social groups. How has Dachau been used--and abused--to serve the present? What effects have those uses had on the contemporary world? Drawing on a wide array of sources, from government documents and published histories to newspaper reports and interviews with visitors, Legacies of Dachau offers answers to these questions. It is one of the first books to develop an overarching interpretation of West German history since 1945. Harold Marcuse examines the myth of victimization, ignorance, and resistance and offers a model with which the cultural trajectories of other post-genocidal societies can be compared. With its exacting research, attention to nuance, and cogent argumentation, Legacies of Dachau raises the bar for future studies of the complex relationship between history and memory. Harold Marcuse is Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he teaches modern German history. The grandson of German emigre philosopher Herbert Marcuse, Harold Marcuse returned to Germany in 1977 to rediscover family roots. After several years, he became interested in West Germany's relationship to its Nazi past. In 1985, shortly before Ronald Reagan and Helmut Kohl visited Bitburg, he organized and coproduced an exhibition "Stones of Contention" about monuments and memorials commemorating the Nazi era. That exhibition, which marks the beginning of Marcuse's involvement in German memory debates, toured nearly thirty German cities, including Dachau. This is his first book.