Announcement – Jakob Augstein in conversation with Jürgen Zimmerer: Who does German history belong to?

Recently, when the Free Voter Hubert Aiwanger was associated with an anti-Semitic flyer, the question arose: What is the true state of the highly praised German processing of National Socialism? The Deputy Minister-President of Bavaria had to justify Auschwitz jokes from his school days. And although he couldn’t completely dispel the allegations, he retained his position.

The incident is reminiscent of Alexander Gauland’s speech, in which he referred to National Socialism as a „bird shit“ in German history. Gauland’s AfD is becoming increasingly openly right-wing and is gaining more support in surveys. How can this be? Is German memory culture in danger because too many people have had enough of it?

Jürgen Zimmerer states that the Aiwanger-Söder affair represents the desire of many to draw a line, which is highly problematic. The historian has recently published the book „Erinnerungskämpfe: Neues deutsches Geschichtsbewusstsein“ (Reclam, 536 pages, €25), in which he calls for a more inclusive German historical consciousness that includes individuals with a migration background. How can we achieve a new, diverse perspective on our past? Jakob Augstein discusses German memory culture with Jürgen Zimmerer.

On Monday, October 9, 2023, at the Literature House Berlin (Fasanenstraße 23 in 10719 Berlin), as well as live on radioeins from rbb. Tickets can be obtained here.

Jürgen Zimmerer, born in 1965 in Wörth an der Donau, is a professor of history at the University of Hamburg. The historian and African studies scholar primarily researches German colonial history and its repercussions in Germany. He supports the so-called „continuity thesis,“ which argues that there was a connection between the colonial crimes committed by the German Empire in Southwest Africa and the Holocaust. Zimmerer has been studying the cultural memory of Germans for decades.

Regularly, Jakob Augstein meets a guest in the fireplace room of the Berlin Literature House to discuss truth and invention in the great narratives of our time. Undisturbed by the excitement machine of the internet, two people come together for a conversation and practice skills that are becoming scarce: asking questions, listening, understanding, learning. The model for this discussion format is the legendary conversations of journalist Günter Gaus, which were shown on television when it was still black and white.