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Banishing “Mark Of Cain”

  • December 21st, 2007
  • Posted by 7thmin

nazi-bootsreduced.jpgAn Australian historian says time has produced a cultural change where many more people in Germany will lay to rest the memory of the Nazi past and “feel good about their nationality”.

Dirk Moses from the University of Sydney argues in his new book, German Intellectuals and the Nazi Past, that a new generation in Germany no longer feels the “mark of Cain” through identifying with past crimes.

Members of the intellectual or political communities had been dealing with the problem through adopting a “post-national” identity, seeing themselves as European first and German second.

He says a fourth generation of people since the Second Word War have not learned about the war years from those who directly experienced them, instead discovering what happened through a cultural memory process, rather than communicative memory.

As a result more people were “placing trust in the country’s institutions.”

Dirk Moses outlined his main ideas on Australian radio (13.12.07); for the full transcript or to download audio: > Radio > Radio National > Perspective.


Moses, D. (2007), German Intellectuals and the Nazi Past, CUP, Cambridge, ISBN 978 0 521 86495 4