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The Sins of the FathersGermany, Memory, Method$
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Jeffrey K. Olick

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226386492

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226386522.001.0001

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The Return of the Repressed

The Return of the Repressed

(p.178) Chapter 7 The Return of the Repressed
The Sins of the Fathers

Jeffrey K. Olick

University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines Adenauer’s response to the issue of persistent anti-Semitism at the end of 1959 and into 1960, which was characterized by defensiveness and an attempt to quell doubts about West Germany’s reliability. Olick uses speeches made by Adenauer and the vice president of the Bundestag, Carlo Schmid, to explore German tendencies to characterize the problem of anti-Semitism as not specifically German and to treat it as a historical aberration. Olick then describes the reorientation of the Social Democratic Party after 1957 and the election of Heinrich Lübke as minister of agriculture, both of which signalled changing attitudes regarding historical memory and German politics. In the second part of the chapter, Olick analyses the Eichmann trial of 1961, the Frankfurt Auschwitz trials of 1963-65, the parliamentary debate over the statute of limitations set to come into effect in 1965, and the 1965 diplomatic crisis that led to official relations between West Germany and the State of Israel. He connects these events to a new attitude towards and interest in the past in West Germany, and changes in West German society.

Keywords:   anti-Semitism, West Germany, historical memory, politics, Adolf Eichmann, Frankfurt, Auschwitz

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