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May 06 , 2009

The Collective Silence

German Identity and the Legacy of Shame


The silence surrounding the Holocaust continues to prevent healing - whether of the victims, Nazis, or the generations that followed them.The telling of the stories surrounding the Holocaust - all the stories - is essential if we are to understand what happened, recognize the part of human nature that allows such atrocities to occur, and realize the hope that we can prevent it from happening again.

Seeking to shed light on the collective silence surrounding the Holocaust in Germany, the contributors offer compelling accounts, histories, and experiences that illuminate the ways in which contemporary Germans continue to grapple with the consequences of the Holocaust. Denial in the older generations, as well as anger and confusion in the younger ones, comes vividly to the surface in these evocative stories of coping and healing. Told from the vantage points both of therapists and of patients, these stories encompass the psychological plight of all those facing the legacy of genocide - from the daughter of a high-ranking Nazi official to the children of Jewish immigrants, from those raised in the Hitler Youth Movement to those born well after the war.

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