Kauffman, Karen C. “Re-Inventing German Collective Memory”, Boston College, 2008. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/557.
Coming to terms with memory of the Nazi past has been a long and challenging task for the German nation. An important part of this process was the debate over building a national Holocaust memorial in Berlin, called the Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe. The debate began in 1989 and has arguably not yet ended. Occurring primarily in periodicals, political speeches and official colloquiums, the Denkmalstreit (memorial debate) was largely about German intellectuals developing a system of dealing with the Holocaust while redefining German identity in their own eyes and those of the world. The famous Historikerstreit (historians debate) of the 1980s raised the issues of the burden of shame and guilt on modern Germans, concern over forgetting the Holocaust, the uniqueness of the Holocaust and Jewish persecution, and the need to develop a new national identity. The Denkmalstreit dealt with these issues through the questions of whether to build a memorial and what it would mean, whether the memorial would be for descendents of perpetrators or victims, and what form the memorial should take. After closely examining these issues and the consensus the German intellectuals, politicians and artists reached in order to finally dedicate the memorial in 2005, I argue that Germany has done an exemplary job of coming to terms with the crimes of its past.