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Events

Nancy Aris: On the attitude towards the past in Germany / Dr. Nancy Aris: Über den Umgang mit der Vergangenheit in Deutschland

16+
*recommended age
Event ended

On April 9, as a part of the German Week in St. Petersburg, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the Center for Historical Research invites you to the seminar on the culture of memory and understanding of the two dictatorships in the history of Germany. Speech on the topic of the seminar will be delivered by Dr. Nancy Aris, Deputy Commissioner for the Comprehension of the SED dictatorship in Saxony.

For a relatively short time, Germany has experienced two dictatorships. The legal understanding of the numerous crimes of the Nazi regime began at the end of the Second World War. We name only the most terrible: unleashing an aggressive war that led to the largest number of victims in the history of mankind, the genocide of the Jewish and other peoples, the program of euthanasia, inhuman treatment of civilians in the occupied territories, its enslavement, deportation, destruction. However, the legal understanding of these crimes did not guarantee changes in the consciousness of the population in post-war Germany. To a much greater degree, it required social understanding of the ideology of National Socialism, which at the initial stage was happening without much enthusiasm. Democratic values should be shared by broad layers of population, it should live according to these values. How did these processes of reflection and transformation of public consciousness occur in post-war Germany? Why in a country where today quite a few witnesses are left the dictatorship is still remembered? Immediately after the end of the Second World War, a dictatorship again arose on the territory of the Soviet occupation zone, which existed for forty years. The ideology of Marxism-Leninism penetrated all social life in the former GDR. Although the SED was not the only party in the country, it was the only one that made all the decisions. East Germany, which declared itself a stronghold of anti-fascism, was silent about the fact that some Nazi concentration camps such as Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen after 1945 continued to be actively used for several years to keep in custody opponents of their ideology. Such structure as the “Stasi” (Ministry of State Security of the GDR) to this day remains a historical “example” of how the state can involve a huge number of its citizens in total surveillance and informing. How did changes in the leadership and composition of state bodies, administrative institutions and educational institutions happened after the reunification of Germany? How happened the public debate about values and democracy? What was the attitude towards the Stasi archives? In today’s Germany there are numerous memorial complexes, institutions, organizations and projects that actively educate the population about historical facts and oppose the cultivation of old and the development of new myths about those eras. They bring up the younger generation in the spirit of democracy and tolerance. Even though almost 75 years have passed since the collapse of the Nazi dictatorship and almost 30 years after the collapse of the SED dictatorship, this task does not become less urgent. Moreover, Germany considers it common to all generations including future ones. The purpose of this work is to study the mechanisms of the emergence of dictatorships and develop methods for their prevention. After all, democracy and freedom are not things that are taken for granted. They need to be constantly conquered and defended

Students, postgraduates and teachers of historical faculties of universities as well as anyone interested in Germany, its history and its modern attitude to its past are invited to participate in the seminar.

At the end of the seminar everyone is invited to watch the film “The State against Fritz Bauer”. After the film there will be a short exchange of views on the role of the individual in society.

At the end of the event we invite all participants to a small buffet.

 

Seminar programm

Seminar Location:

National Research University Higher School of Economics - Saint-Petersurg,
Griboyedov channel embankment, 123 А, room 402
190068 Saint-Petersurg

Working languages: German and Russian (simultaneous translation)
 
To participate in the seminar, you should register before April 6, 2019.
Registration