Tailoring Truth: Memory Construction and Whitewashing the Nazi Past from Below.

Citation metadata

Author: Mikkel Dock
Date: Spring 2021
From: German Politics and Society(Vol. 39, Issue 1)
Publisher: Berghahn Books, Inc.
Document Type: Report
Length: 9,061 words
Lexile Measure: 1770L

Document controls

Main content

Abstract :

As part of the post-war denazification campaign, as many as 20 million Germans were screened for employment by Allied armies. Applicants were ordered to fill out political questionnaires (Fragebogen) and allowed to justify their membership in Nazi organizations in appended statements. This mandatory act of self-reflection has led to the accumulation of a massive archival repository, likely the largest collection of autobiographical writings about the Third Reich. This article interprets individual and family stories recorded in denazification documents and provides insight into how Germans chose to remember and internalize the National Socialist years. The Fragebogen allowed and even encouraged millions of respondents to rewrite their personal histories and to construct whitewashed identities and accompanying narratives to secure employment. Germans embraced the unique opportunity to cast themselves as resisters and victims of the Nazi regime. These identities remained with them after file dissolution of the denazification project and were carried forward into the post-occupation period. Keywords: Allied occupation, denazification, ego-documents, Fragebogen, memory device, Nazism, post--World War 11 Germany

Source Citation

Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|A670225521