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Past in the Making

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Michal Kopecek

“The Holocaustizing of the Transfer-Discourse”

Historical Revisionism or Old Wine in New Bottles?

Eva Hahn et Hans Henning Hahn

Texte intégral

  • 1 Noam Chomsky: “Historical Revisionism,” March 31, 1992, in www.chomsky.info/letters/19920331.htm ( (...)

1“My views are quite explicitly stated: the Holocaust was the most extreme atrocity in human history, and we lose our humanity if we are even willing to enter the arena of debate with those who seek to deny or underplay Nazi crimes.”1 Noam Chomsky’s 1992 assertion would not be challenged openly in Germany today. However, even though the uniqueness of the Holocaust remains undisputed, comparisons between Nazi crimes and supposedly similar crimes allegedly committed by the Allies after World War II are also widely accepted in current German rhetoric. During the last couple of years the media have repeatedly claimed that debating the Vertreibung (expulsion) has been taboo until now, and that German “victims” of the Allies’ policies should be commemorated in the same way as the victims of Nazi war crimes. Calls for a “new” form of collective memory are common, and many Germans believe that changes are necessary in order to “normalize” German historical consciousness. These attempts to revise the popular understanding of World War II and its aftermath are not openly presented as a debate about National Socialism, but as a debate about the resettlement of the German population from Eastern Europe during and after the war. In particular, this debate focuses on the Vertreibung of Germans from areas which had belonged to Großdeutsches Reich, the Nazi-enlarged German Reich, during the war and to Poland and Czechoslovakia afterwards.

  • 2 Anja Kruke, ed., Zwangsmigration und Vertreibung—Europa im 20. Jahrhundert [Forced Migration and E (...)
  • 3 BdV - Bund der Vertriebenen, www.bund-der-vertriebenen.de (18 December 2006).

2These recent debates about the Vertreibung represent a more significant issue than another mere discussion about the past. Most Germans would agree with this statement, as voices suggesting that the Vertreibung is a European issue are heard regularly, and many Germans assert that the Vertreibung should be commemorated as a “European tragedy” in a “European manner.”2 The driving political force behind the new trend is the Bund der Vertriebenen,3 an organization that is generally regarded as the political representation of the expellees. However, this kind of “Europeanization” of the Vertreibung has been called for from all sides of the present political spectrum in Germany. The term “European” might be more often spoken about than thought of in Germany, but there are good reasons why these debates do indeed appear significant for the whole of Europe.

  • 4 E. Hahn and H.H. Hahn, “The Resettlement of the German Population from Eastern Europe in Retrospec (...)

3Poland and the Czech Republic are directly connected with the recent debates about the Vertreibung because the popular views of Polish history stand together with those of Czech history in the focus of all these debates. Moreover, the major role played by the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union in those events indicates that the histories of these three states also belong to the issue. The discussion indicates that there is a close connection between popular ways of remembering the Vertreibung on the one hand, and remembering the Holocaust on the other.4 The present development of collective memory in Germany will therefore have direct repercussions on the future understanding of the nature of the Holocaust and its historical interpretation. This concerns not only Europeans, but also Jews in general, and the state of Israel in particular. Moreover, the United Nations declared in 2005 that 27 January should become “International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust,” and therefore the question of how the Holocaust is remembered naturally does matter for both the historical consciousness and the political future of all of Europe and beyond.

  • 5 Beschluss des Deutschen Bundestages vom 4. Juli [Resolution of the German Bundestag] 2002 (Drucksa (...)
  • 6 Zentrum gegen Vertreibungen [Centre against Expulsions] http://www.z-g-v.de/index1.html (21 Novemb (...)
  • 7 Markus Meckel www.markusmeckel.de (21 November 2006).

4The issue of the Vertreibung is considered in Germany as an issue of national identity. In 1999, the Bund der Vertriebenen demanded that a national memorial should be created in Berlin to commemorate the Vertreibung so that this part of collective memory would become one of the pillars of German national identity. This proposal aroused new interest in the topic of the Vertreibung and calls for a “new” form of collective memory. In 2002, the German parliament expressed support for the idea that a new memorial to the Vertreibung should be created, even though the politicians disagreed over what the memorial should look like.5 This decision of the Bundestag inspired wide-ranging discussion, but the main controversy involved only the two major political parties, the Christian– Democratic Union and its Bavarian section, the Christian–Social Union (CDU/CSU), and the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD); each side favored a different project. The CDU/CSU endorsed the plan for a Zentrum gegen Vertreibungen6 (Center against Expulsions) proposed by the national organization of expellees. The SPD endorsed Markus Meckel’s 2003 proposal that a Europäisches Zentrum gegen Vertreibungen, Zwangsaussiedlungen und Deportationen (European Center against Expulsions, Forced Resettlements and Deportations) should be created.7 However, both projects are based on the common understanding that the Vertreibung was a crime of “ethnic cleansing,” committed by the Allies in 1945 and inspired by the same ideas which had led the Nazi regime to the Holocaust, and that about 15 million Germans are to be remembered as victims of the Vertreibung.

  • 8 Für einen kritischen und aufgeklärten Vergangenheitsdiskurs [For a critical and enlightened debate (...)
  • 9 S. Dittrich “Unfähig zur Versöhnung” [Incapable of reconciliation] in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitu (...)

5The “new” way of remembering the Vertreibung was obviously inspired by discussions about the Holocaust Memorial, which was erected in Berlin in 2005, but had been a subject for debate among the German public throughout the 1990s. With respect to the commemoration of the Vertreibung in a new way, the public expressed a wide range of opinions and attitudes, from the extreme right to the extreme left. However, this fact has not been reflected in the major media, which focus on politically significant issues rather than on the arguments presented. Voices critical of both projects for a state-funded memorial have been widely excluded from the media, and their arguments seldom heard in public. Not even the international petition For a Critical and Enlightened Debate about the Past, signed in 2003 by 116 scholars and intellectuals from 12 countries,8 has been brought to the attention of the public. Consequently, the reasons for wide-spread criticism of this new development are not understood by many Germans. The stereotype that only “the Poles” and “the Czechs” raise objections has become popular, even though the major daily, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, accused critics from “East Central Europe” collectively of just copying “West German left wing intellectuals.”9 The new German government, a coalition of the two major parties mentioned above, announced in 2005 that the national memorial commemorating the Vertreibung should be created in Berlin during its term of office. It should become an expression of “new” ways of remembering the Vertreibung in Germany, and therefore, the study of this issue from the point of view of historical revisionism has become an issue of major importance both for Germany and for the international community.

***

  • 10 For a brief overview of the basic facts see W. Benz, “Fremde in der Heimat: Flucht—Vertreibung—Int (...)
  • 11 Münz Rainer and Ohliger Rainer, “Vergessene Deutsche—erinnerte Deutsche. Flüchtlinge, Vertriebene, (...)

6A brief overview of the historical events labeled in Germany as Vertreibung might be helpful for an understanding of the subject of this essay.10 The word Vertreibung is a designation which sums up the results of four major steps towards the resettlement of German minorities in Eastern Europe in the years 1939–1949. In 1949, there were about 11 million Germans in Germany, who had lived in areas east of the new German– Polish borders before World War II, and about 3.5 million Germans remained in their homes.11 The resettlement took place in the following four stages:

  • Between 1939 and 1944, the Nazi Regime resettled around one million Germans from the Baltic States, the Soviet Union, Hungary, Romania and Yugoslavia. These people were moved from their homes primarily to German-occupied territories in Poland, but also to occupied Czechoslovakia and Austria.
  • Between August 1944, and 8 May 1945, around six million Germans, mostly women, children, and sick and old people (including the previously resettled Germans) were subjected to the Evacuation Orders of the German authorities in the areas east of the Oder– Neiße-Line, as the plans of the Allied governments for the future German frontiers became known to Nazi officials (on 1 January 1945, Hitler informed the German public of this in his New Year’s Order12).
  • In the first postwar months, the liberated western areas of Poland and northern Czechoslovakia were in a lawless state after the German authorities retreated. During this period, about one million Germans from Poland (partly the evacuees) and approximately 730,000 from Czechoslovakia became victims of arbitrary expulsions. At the same time, millions of previously evacuated German civilians found themselves homeless and their future status unclear.
  • At the Potsdam Conference in 1945, the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union declared their intention to resettle the remaining parts of the German population from Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary. By the provisions of these three occupying powers, 1.9 million people were resettled from Poland in 1946; 500,000 in 1947; and 76,000 in 1948/49.13 2.2 million Germans were transferred from Czechoslovakia in 1946.14 120000 Germans left Hungary in 1946, and another 50,000 in the following two years.15 160000 Germans left Austria during 1946.16

7All these events have been blurred by the common German usage of the word Vertreibung, creating a major obstacle to a factual and analytic approach to the topic. To understand the German debates on the Vertreibung the following two points must be kept in mind. First, the Vertriebene, the expellees, were partly removed from their homes in Eastern Europe by the German authorities before the end of World War II and partly by the Allies after the end of the war. Second, the three occupying powers authorized the transfer of German populations from Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary, the vast majority of whom—in fact all except about 200,000 Germans from Hungary—had been citizens of the Großdeutsches Reich, the Nazi-enlarged German Reich. The decision taken by the Allies was not part of an attempt to apply any universally comprehended principles of ethnic homogeneity, but a strictly limited decision as part of their postwar policies towards Germany.

***

  • 17 Hans Henning Hahn and Eva Hahn, “Mythos ‘Vertreibung’” [Myth ‘Expulsion’], in Politische Mythen im (...)

8In Germany, the word Vertreibung does not designate these events which took place between 1939 and 1949 or distinguish between the various ways in which the expellees arrived in postwar Germany. The Vertreibung has traditionally been remembered in Germany as an event from the end of World War II and the postwar period only.17 The numbers of “victims” of the Vertreibung used in the media and specialized literature vary between 5 and 20 million, and it is often claimed that 2.5 million German civilians lost their lives during the Vertreibung. The historical narrative is usually based on three images representing the Vertreibung. It begins by mentioning the flight and plight of German civilians from the Soviet occupied territories between late 1944 and early 1945, focusing on the atrocities committed by Soviet soldiers. Secondly, the term “wild expulsions” is used to characterize the fate of German civilians between May 1945 and late summer 1945, when atrocities committed by Polish and Czechoslovak citizens are in focus. Thirdly, the transfers supervised by the USA, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union from 1946 to 1949 are considered as the next stage of the Vertreibung, but they are not usually paid much attention in the traditional narrative. In addition to this, the German term expellees has been also used to designate people who moved voluntarily from Eastern Europe to the Federal Republic of Germany between 1949 and 1993.

9The Vertreibung has been one of the central topics of collective memory in the FRG since the state was founded in 1949. Besides National Socialism, there is hardly any historical issue which has been discussed and reflected upon so often. There are places of commemoration in nearly every German town, scholarly research on this topic has been widespread from the very beginning, as has its reflection in literature and public discussion. The recent discussions on the Vertreibung can be traced back to a revived interest in Germany after the fall of the communist regime. During the 1990s, German politicians, media and the organizations of expellees exported their ideas into neighboring countries in Central Europe. Their principle targets were Poland and the Czech Republic, where over 90 percent of the expellees came from. In these countries, the topic aroused great interest and inspired controversies as well as numerous research projects and publications throughout the 1990s. In other European countries, interest did not develop to the same extent.

10The ways in which the Vertreibung is commemorated in Germany have always been subjected to criticism. To understand the controversies accompanying the public discourse on the Vertreibung, we have to distinguish between two aspects: first, the history and the political demands directed by the German state at Poland and Czechoslovakia since 1949; and second, the history of the public understanding, interpretations and forms of commemoration in the FRG between 1949 and 1989. These two aspects are closely interconnected.

11In the German Democratic Republic, the decisions taken by the Allied powers in 1945 were never questioned, but governments of the Federal Republic since 1949 have maintained a different position with respect to the interpretation of the Vertreibung. They claim that the expulsion of the German population from Poland and Czechoslovakia was illegal, that it constitutes a crime against humanity, and that it should be revised. The term Vertreibung is often used together with the words Vernichtung or Völkermord (extermination or genocide). A large majority of German politicians have striven since 1949 for the restitution of (or at least compensation for) lost territories, citizens’ rights, and property from Poland and the Czech Republic. In particular, the Federal Republic adopted revisionist policies towards the German–Polish border as established de facto in 1945. As the British historian Elizabeth Wiskemann observed in 1956, it was not easy for many Germans to understand the situation in Germany after World War II:

  • 18 Elizabeth Wiskemann. Germany’s Eastern Neighbours: Problems Relating to the Oder-Neisse Line and t (...)

In the “smash-and-grab” land game which has gone on between Poles and Germans through the ages, and whose present phase may be regarded as dating from the partitions of Poland at the end of the 18th century, the Germans had now lost two rounds: the Second World War had deprived them of far more land—one measure of national power—than the first, and drawn a frontier de facto which (certainly in terms of earlier conceptions) had a greater air of finality.18

  • 19 Official Statement. US Information Service, Embassy of the United States of America, Washington (1 (...)

12The political efforts to achieve a revision of the Potsdam Treaty were more rhetorical exercises than real political actions, and a number of these efforts were supported by various sections of the population between 1949 and 1989. The fall of the communist regimes led to a revival of expectations during the 1990s. The German–Polish border was accepted finally in 1990/91, but demands for the restitution of property owned by German citizens before the end of World War II appeared reasonable to major parts of the German public up to 2004, when the government of Gerhard Schröder distanced itself from the issue. Most other politicians joined Schröder and stopped calling for material restitutions and compensation even though the state still gives financial and political support to organizations which continue to pursue such claims. Germany has not succeeded in pressing Poland or the Czech Republic into any concessions. The position of these two states concerning the legality of the decision endorsed in Potsdam in summer 1945 has been confirmed by all three powers, as indicated by, for example, the official statement of the US Information Service of 14 February, 1996: “The decisions made at Potsdam by the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union in July and August, 1945 were soundly based in international law… The conclusions of the Potsdam Conference are historical fact and the United States is confident that no country wishes to call them into question.”19 However, the traditionally common interpretations of the Vertreibung in Germany have been part of the unsuccessful attempts to reverse the postwar decisions of the Allies.

13The second aspect of the recent debates on the Vertreibung in Germany concerns the emergence of the so-called “new” historical interpretations of the Vertreibung. Because of the political experience summarized above, all public discussion in this field has always been highly politicized. Since the fall of the communist regimes, the topic of the Vertreibung has aroused great interest in Poland and in the Czech Republic, and international cooperation among German, Polish and Czech historians has led to numerous new studies. In spite of the lively research and discussion on the topic throughout the 1990s, the so-called “new” ways of collective memory in Germany emerged after 1999 and it is this way of collective remembrance which has provoked considerable criticism in Germany, as well as in Poland and, to a lesser degree, in the Czech Re-public. Criticism was leveled against this development because it is perceived as a dangerous process of reinterpretation of 20th-century German and European history. Many critics argue that we are confronted with historical revisionism in the sense of a politically motivated approach that downgrades or denies essential historical facts concerning the Nazi regime and its crimes.

  • 20 VERTRIEBENEN-TREFFEN: Köhler warnt vor Umschreiben der Geschichte [Expellees-Convention; Köhler wa (...)

14In Germany, the reasons why commentators have raised the idea of revisionism have generally not been understood. However, the notion of rewriting history, Revision der Geschichte, has become a topic that appears regularly in the media. Its significance today is indicated, for example, by the speech given by President Horst Köhler on 2 September 2006. Speaking to some 1,000 representatives of 21 expellee organizations on the main commemoration day in Germany devoted to the Vertreibung, the so-called Tag der Heimat (The Day of the Homeland), Köhler said: “We have to make clear in a patient way that there is no political force which should be taken seriously that would strive to rewrite history.”20 According to this and numerous other statements, we should not look for any form of historical revisionism in present-day Germany.

  • 21 Der Spiegel (February 2003), S. 5.

15Such statements are surprising because since 1999, the German media and many German commentators have stressed that a change in German historical consciousness has taken place, that Germans are “at last free” to speak about German suffering during and after World War II. Who should have prevented “the Germans” from speaking about their sufferings in the free and democratic FRG has never been clarified, but even the famous German weekly magazine Spiegel demonstrates how popular this idea has become: in 2003, the magazine announced that “a new climate” had emerged in Germany, because it had now become possible to speak about topics which had been previously taboo.21 These two topics were “the Germans as victims” and “the Bombing of Germany,” and two series of articles were published: the first devoted to the Vertreibung, and the second to the air raids during World War II. No new information was presented by the magazine, but comparisons between the Nazi regime and the Allies were made in a more explicit way than in earlier times.

16This new fashion aroused attention around the world. Even Wikipedia brought the new developments on the topic of expulsion to the attention of the international public, describing them as follows:

  • 22 Flight and expulsion of Germans during and after WWII, in Wikipedia’s entry: “Expulsions” http://e (...)

In the early 1990s, the Cold War ended and the occupying powers withdrew from Germany. The issue of the treatment of Germans after World War II began to be reexamined, having previously been overshadowed by Nazi Germany’s war crimes. The primary motivation for this change was the collapse of the Soviet Union, which allowed for issues previously marginalized, such as the crimes committed by the Soviet Army during the World War II, to be raised.
In November and December 1993, an exhibit on Ethnic Cleansing 1944–1948 was held at the Stuart Centre of De Paul University, in Chicago, where it was called an unknown holocaust, which had been forgotten about. Reports have surfaced of both Czech nationalist as well as Soviet massacres of German civilians (see the book A Terrible Revenge). Also, some of the former German concentration camps were used as temporary camps for German civilians.22

  • 23 For more about the way in which Norman M. Naimark uses earlier German interpretations of the Vertr (...)

17This passage, and many other texts,23 indicate that some kind of rewriting of history is in progress in spite of all attempts to deny any “revisionism.” What exactly is new, on what sources the so called “new” information is based, and towards what kind of changes in our understanding of European history the “new” way of writing that history is leading us, are all questions which deserve our attention. The major media in Germany have not discussed such questions. Among academic observers, the commentators belong either to the supporters of the new trend, or to its critics, but few attempts have been made to look at the “new” German historiography from a historical point of view.

***

18Traditionally, numerous authors in Germany focus their interpretation of the Vertreibung on the crimes committed against German civilians by the Soviet Army and by Czech and Polish perpetrators during the last months of the War and its aftermath. They base their understanding of the Vertreibung on the idea that 15 million Germans from numerous countries in Eastern and Central Europe were victims of criminal acts committed by the Allies in general, but in particular by the Poles and the Czechs. In their view, these two nations bear the main responsibility for the Vertreibung, partly shared by the three powers. These authors do not attempt to explore and describe the events which brought the expellees from their original homes in Eastern Europe to postwar Germany or to explain why the Allies took their decisions; they concentrate rather on presenting the evidence of crimes, used as pars in toto evidence. Several popular symbolic representations of such crimes—place-names such as Nemmersdorf, Lamsdorf, Aussig and Brünn—accompany the common narrative without being placed in their real historical context.

  • 24 Mathias Beer, ed., Umsiedlung, Flucht und Vertreibung der Deutschen als internationales Problem. Z (...)

19In contrast, the protagonists of the “new” interpretation of the Vertreibung emphasize what they consider to be its “European” character. This kind of “Europeanization” of the expulsion is presented as the new understanding of history, maintaining that the Vertreibung was not just an event concerning the German population or nation, but rather that it has to be seen as the result of a europäischer Irrweg (European deviation).24 All Europeans should remember the European history of the 20th century as a “deviation,” and the Holocaust and the Vertreibung as two consequences of this “European deviation.” Today, most German historians, politicians, and commentators advocate this so-called European way of looking at the expulsion, and they believe that European institutions should be created to guarantee the proper commemoration the Vertreibung as a European tragedy and to teach Europeans about it as much as about the Holocaust.

20These attempts to “correct” the common understanding of European history by declaring that Europe was on a “wrong” path throughout the 20th century—on the path of “European deviation”—have not yet been successful anywhere outside Germany. In the European Union, politicians have not paid any attention to the topic of the Vertreibung, there are few historians working in this field, and the public has not shown much inter-est. In 2002, the European Parliament rejected German demands concerning the “Beneš Decrees,” that is the attempt to reverse the Czechoslovak legal provision on the basis of which German nationals lost Czechoslovak citizenship and their property in 1945. In 2005 the German-initiated “European Network for Studying and Commemorating the Vertreibung” was founded in Warsaw, but apart from Poland, Hungary and Slovakia, no other country has joined. All this might be taken to suggest that the new trend in Germany should not have provoked serious controversy, as it does not seem likely to become popular anywhere outside Germany.

21What kind of controversies has the “new” interpretation of the past caused, and why? None of the critics of the “new” trend in remembering the expulsion deny that many German civilians suffered greatly during and after World War II, and no one has denied the right of Germany to commemorate the victims and the sufferings of millions of its citizens. The controversies concern the ways in which the Vertreibung is being historically conceptualized. When we try to assess the major issues at stake, we find two positions:

  1. The representatives of the “new” interpretations use the term ethnic cleansing and believe that the expulsion of Germans was motivated by an idea which was generally accepted in Europe from the 19th century onwards and which maintained that modern national states should be ethnically homogenous. They argue that this was the reason why Armenians were mistreated in the Ottoman Empire during World War I, or why the 1923 Convention of Lausanne authorized the exchange of populations between Turkey and Greece. They con-tend that the Nazi regime discriminated against and killed the Jews for the same reason, and that for the same reason, the Allies in Potsdam, in 1945, made the decision to transfer the German populations from Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary. The Yugoslavian civil war of the 1990s is represented as having been caused by the same “mistaken” idea. All these events are labeled with the same term “ethnic cleansing,” declared to be crimes against humanity and genocide, and looked upon as major events in European history, which should be commemorated in a German national museum labeled a “Centre against Expulsions”25 in order to “heal” Europe and prevent ethnic cleansing in the future.
  2. The opponents of this concept stress the significance of the historical context of each of these events. In the case of the Vertreibung, they point out the unique nature of World War II as a defensive war against the brutal tyranny of the National Socialist regime and the Nazi policy of instrumentalizing the German minorities in Poland and in Czechoslovakia. Citing diplomatic documents concerning the decision-making, they stress that there is nothing to indicate that the governments of the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union were concerned about the ethnic homogeneity of modern European states. There is nothing to show that they would have believed in or attempted to create a new European state order based on ethnic homogeneity, or punished Germany by their decision to move the German population from the three named countries. The critics argue that the Vertreibung was not an example of any kind of “European deviation,” but rather the consequence of Hitler’s expansionistic war as well as an attempt to solve the question of the eastern border of the modern German national state. They contend that the three powers wanted to prevent any repetition of the situation in the 1930s when Germany destabilized neighboring countries and began a war in the name of German minorities in Poland and Czechoslovakia.
  • 26 Götz Aly, “Europas Selbstzerstörung. Zum geplanten ‘Zentrum gegen Vertreibungen’” [Europes’s self- (...)
  • 27 Joschka Fischer, “Was haben wir uns angetan” [What have we done to ourselves], in Die Zeit (28 Aug (...)

22Among the general public in Germany, the controversy is perceived as a conflict between two popular images. First, the well-known historian and protagonist of the “new” interpretation of the expulsion, Götz Aly, entitled one of his articles Europas Selbstzerstörung (European selfdestruction).26 He argues that Europe was destroying itself throughout the 20th century because “ethnic cleansing” had become a fashion and had made the 20th century into a “Century of Expulsions”. Therefore, we should overcome the popular understanding of National Socialism as an exceptional historical phenomenon, and place Nazi crimes, including the Holocaust, together with the Vertreibung in the context of general European attempts to achieve the ethnic homogeneity of modern states. Unlike Aly, former Minister for Foreign Affairs Joschka Fischer looks upon the Vertreibung as the result of the Deutsche Selbstzerstörung (German self-destruction) under National Socialism. Fischer alludes to the German crimes against other Europeans as well as at the crimes committed by the Nazi regime against the German population and its culture, and considers these to be the cause of the Vertreibung. 27

23One could argue that such controversy about the interpretation of an event is normal; one might wonder why it raises the issue of historical revisionism at all. Is not every historical study a kind of revision and is not every interpretation of an historical event controversial? Present developments in Germany indicate prima facie that the issue at stake is not “new” information and a “new” assessment thereof—as indeed many authors in Germany stress by arguing that the present writings on the Vertreibung are not “new” interpretations based on new discoveries, but by a “new” way of understanding and remembering the Vertreibung. No one has suggested that the “new” way of looking at the Vertreibung offers new insights into past events thanks to historians who have provided us with some new factual information and improved our knowledge of the past. The major German media agree, and numerous historians have reiterated, that it is the way in which this event has been recalled by the German public during the last few years that is “new,” and that therefore the topic should be awarded a “new” status in the national identity of the German people. In this respect, the “new” writings on the expulsion are not a legitimate reexamination of a historical narrative. Why is it that the German president and most of the commentators in the media assert at the same time that history is not being rewritten in Germany?

  • 28 See e.g., Ingo Haar, “Hochgerechnetes Unglück. Die Zahl der deutschen Opfer nach dem Zweiten Weltk (...)
  • 29 Deutsche Bischofskonferenz [German Bishops-Conference] www.dbk.de (21 September 2005).
  • 30 Sudetendeutsche Zeitung (13 May 2005).

24Examining the “new” writings carefully, it becomes obvious that the recent interest in the topic of the Vertreibung has not been accompanied by an interest in the event itself. Numerous new books on the Vertreibung have been published in recent years in Germany, but they are not based on new information, on new research into the experience of the expellees, or new documents about the decision-making. Moreover, the research conducted in Czech, Polish, and other public archives since the fall of Communism has gone unnoticed, and most recent studies based on newly accessible archives have not been translated into German. When new information appears, it receives little attention in the media. Consequently, no new questions have been asked and no contradictions have been resolved. As a result, the public are still ignorant even of basic information about how many Germans were expelled, by whom, and when.28 One example exemplifies the carelessness in dealing with even the most fundamental information: at the Berlin commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, on 8 May 2005, the head of the German Catholic Church, Cardinal Karl Lehmann spoke of five million expellees,29 but when his speech was reproduced in the Sudetendeutsche Zeitung one week later, that number was increased to 15 million.30

25In fact, the “new” way of writing about the Vertreibung indicates remarkable continuities with the traditional ways of interpreting the expulsion in the FRG. It is being said today, as it always was before, that the expulsions took place beginning in late 1944, but no difference is made between those Germans from Eastern Europe who were moved by the Nazi authorities, and those moved by the Allies after the end of the war. Little information is available to the public about the differences between the resettlement-practices of the Nazi regime and those of the Allies; consequently, the people who were resettled by the Nazi regime between 1939 and 1944 are considered Vertriebene (expellees), even though it is not clear who expelled them. Neither the numbers of people who were victims of crimes committed by the Nazi regime, nor of those who became victims of crimes after the end of the war has been established. Blurring all these differences leads to blurring the differences between the Nazi regime and the policies and practices of the Allies. This also belongs to the traditional ways of remembering the Vertreibung, but today it seems that the issue at stake in the controversies regarding expulsion in Germany is not the expulsion of the Germans but rather National Socialism. In discussing expulsion, the German public concentrates nowadays more on the interpretations of National Socialism than on the Vertreibung itself. The “new” writing on the expulsions represents a new approach to writing about National Socialism.

  • 31 Forced Migration: Flight and Expulsion in Twentieth-Century Europe. An Exhibition by the Centre ag (...)

26Until recently, the consensus in Germany was to consider the Nazi chapter of German history a unique phenomenon. Today, this has changed, as we have seen: the protagonists of the “new” interpretation of the expulsion stress that the German crimes committed against the Jews were unique, but they believe that the Holocaust was just one extreme consequence of the general “European deviation,” that is the alleged common acceptance in 20th-century Europe of the idea that a modern state should be ethnically cleansed in order to become ethnically homogenous. Accordingly, the Nazi form of anti-Semitism is reinterpreted by the protagonists of the “new” trend as an ethnically based form of anti-Semitism, as if Jews in Germany did not belong to German ethnicity. “The Expulsion of Jews in Germany from 1933 Onwards: The Start of the Holocaust” has become a popular image today, enabling authors to suggest that the Holocaust was a part of “The National Socialists’ Germanization Policy.”31 Most politicians and commentators favor this approach because, in their eyes, it offers a “European” way of looking at National Socialism. And indeed, it does offer a “new” scenario of modern European history in which National Socialism is not looked upon as a specific chapter of German history, but as the “normal” ideology and practice of a mistaken development in Europe.

  • 32 Andreas F. Kelletat, “Von der Täter—zur Opfernation? Die Rückkehr des Themas ‘Flucht und Vertreibu (...)
  • 33 Sudetendeutsche Zeitung (2 June 2006).
  • 34 Eva Hahn and Hans Henning Hahn, “The Resettlement of the German Population from Eastern Europe in (...)

27With the Nazi regime interpreted as a part of “normal” European practice and the Holocaust as a brutal variation of “accepted” European criminal practices, the expulsions represent a consequence of the same ideas and practice as the Holocaust. Thus the similarities between the expulsions and the Holocaust have become the central theme of the “new” writing about the expulsions. As a result, a new term has emerged among critics of this development, “The Holocaustizing of the TransferDiscourse.”32 Andreas F. Kelletat reminded his readers of a line from the British Daily Telegraph: “Germany breaks the Hitler taboo,” and explained to what extent this observation had been justified. His essay is a most informative survey of German public imagery from the point of view of an author who would agree with Noam Chomsky about the unique nature of the Nazi crimes, but whose understanding of the Vertreibung certainly does not represent the common view in contemporary Germany. From this perspective, it is hardly surprising that the planned national memorial in Berlin exhibits aspects of the Holocaust Memorials in Yad Vashem and in Washington, as if Germany was determined to challenge the traditional understanding of the Holocaust as a unique atrocity against innocent people. Similarly, the “Expulsion of the Sudeten Germans” was commemorated in 2006 with the slogan Vertreibung ist Völkermord (Expulsion is Genocide).33 In addition, historians such as Götz Aly call for a “new” historiography which combines the study of the Vertreibung and the Holocaust34 as if they were offering academic legitimization for the “new” trend.

***

  • 35 Alfred Rosenberg, Letzte Aufzeichnungen. Ideale und Idole der nationalsozialistischen Revolution [ (...)
  • 36 Eugen Lemberg, Geschichte des Nationalismus in Europa [History of nationalism in Europe] (Stuttgar (...)
  • 37 Gotthold Rhode, Völker auf dem Wege…: Verschiebungen der Bevölkerung in Ostdeutschland und Osteuro (...)
  • 38 Götz Aly, “Jahrhundert der Vertreibung” [The century of expulsion], in Wochenpost (29 April 1993).
  • 39 Norman N. Naimark, Fires of Hatred: Ethnic cleansing in twentieth-century Europe (Cambridge, Mass. (...)
  • 40 Norman M. Naimark, “Die Killing Fields des Ostens und Europas geteilte Erinnerung” [The Killing Fi (...)
  • 41 Eva Hahn and Hans Henning 'Hahn, “Alte Legenden und neue Besuche des ‘Ostens.’ Über Norman M. Naim (...)
  • 42 In the original: “mit den europäischen Nationalitätenkriegen verbunden,” in Götz Aly, “Auschwitz u (...)

28This new development is not based on new information and new ideas. In fact, the notion that the Holocaust and the Vertreibung are similar crimes goes back to the postwar era. Alfred Rosenberg, the famous administrator of the German-occupied territories in Eastern Europe, became the first author to propose this connection. In his memoirs, written in the prison of Nürnberg before his execution in 1946, he argued that the criminal acts committed by the Germans against the Jews should be balanced by the crimes of Vertreibung committed by the Allies.35 In 1950 Eugen Lemberg, another well-known German expert in interpreting the Vertreibung, wrote in a similar vein: “What the Germans did to the Jews, the Poles and the Czechs did to Germans.”36 The pre-1945 Nazi historian Gotthold Rhode also proposed the idea that both the Nazi crimes and the Vertreibung should be viewed in the context of so-called “group migration” in Eastern Europe. His book Völker auf dem Wege (Nations Underway)37 became popular in Germany in the early 1990s, and was used uncritically by Götz Aly, who recommended Rhode’s book to the public for further reading in 1993.38 In turn, Götz Aly’s work has been used uncritically by many other historians, not only in Germany, but world-wide. In fact, one of the world’s best known protagonists of the “new” way of remembering the Vertreibung has been the US historian, Norman M. Naimark. His muchtranslated book Fires of Hatred: Ethnic Cleansing in Twentieth-Century Europe,39 played a crucial role in internationalizing the postwar German concept of “The Holocaustizing of the Transfer-Discourse.” Naimark based his book on German publications, and moreover, he revived the traditional forms of German anti-Slavism with his essay “Die Killing Fields des Ostens” (The Killing Fields of the East).40 In this essay he argues that the traditional history of World War II in Eastern Europe should be rewritten using images of a kind of international killing in Eastern Europe, in which the Nazi crimes are to be represented as just one kind of “killing” among many others since all East European nations were killing each other41; similarly, Götz Aly proposed that the Holocaust should be studied in the context of “European nationality wars.”42

  • 43 In the original: “Die europäischen Nationen und die Historiker dort sind bisher sehr wenig bereit, (...)
  • 44 In the original: “Das erfordert aber sehr viele Lokerungsübungen noch in ganz Europa,” ibid., p. 5 (...)

29These observations indicate that the concept of Vertreibung as “ethnic cleansing” is based on ideas already popular half a century ago in postwar Germany. But these ideas have not been a popular way of remembering National Socialism and World War II until recently, and Götz Aly himself mentions that “European nations and historians have little willingness to discuss these matters.”43 Nevertheless, this perception has not inspired him to reexamine the reasons for it or the arguments of his critics; instead, Götz Aly believes that his efforts will need more “relaxation and exercise in the whole of Europe.”44 This attitude indicates that Aly is attempting to replace concepts rather than to become involved in the discussion of existing questions. To a reader well-acquainted with the historiography of the Vertreibung in Germany, the seemingly “new” development indicates cultural continuities with the postwar era, but at the same time also an attempt to replace the sofar common consensus concerning the interpretation of National Socialism by promoting one of the postwar concepts which have been marginalized until now. In this light, the “new” discourse on the Vertreibung and the Holocaust could be looked upon merely as an internal shift of balance within the history of German collective memory. Why then, should we use the term “revisionism”?

30The use of the term historical revisionism to describe this “new” fashion is appropriate for the following reason. The “new” fashion is new because of its implications for the remembrance of National Socialism. Until now, the mainstream discourse in Germany has been based on the understanding of German responsibility for the Nazi regime. National Socialism has been considered a specific phenomenon of German history, so that a narrative which situates the Vertreibung as well as National Socialism in the context of so called “European historical deviation” tends to cut off National Socialism from its roots in Germany. The construction of the “new” narrative of European history in the “new” discourse on transfer suggests that the Nazi regime and the Allies are responsible for the same kind of crimes. Placing the names “Hitler, Stalin, Beneš and Churchill” next to each other and accusing them all of “ethnic cleansing” as a crime against humanity indicates that the knowledge of the history of World War II and the ability to understand the differences between democracies, the Nazi regime and Communism is still not common even among well-known German historians—such as for example Hans Lemberg, who wrote in 2001:

  • 45 Hans Lemberg, “Mehr als eine Wanderung. Eine Einführung” [More than a walk: An introduction], in K (...)

The lack of understanding, indeed, the repugnance, the horror are not just directed against the many individual perpetrators, but also against those who set the population transfer—what a cold bureaucratic term for such a brutal action—in motion, whether their names were Hitler or Stalin, Beneš or Churchill.45

31This emotional way of writing about the Vertreibung and lack of understanding about the historical differences between major political figures in 20th-century European history is not new in the German discourse on the Vertreibung, yet it is a new phenomenon in that it has been accepted by the general public in Germany and is about to become a part of German national identity.

32If the term historical revisionism is understood as a stigmatized term, and used as a description of suspect historical works dealing with the Holocaust and the Third Reich, then the “new” writing on the Vertreibung surely does constitute a part of this kind of historical revisionism. It does not deny the Holocaust or make any direct attempt to use neo-Nazi images of the Third Reich, calling for a rehabilitation of that regime. This would be a false understanding of the problem raised by the “new” trends in the transfer discourse. The protagonists of the new trend are more outspoken about distancing themselves from the Nazi regime than their predecessors, and they emphasize the uniqueness of the Holocaust. However, by arguing that the Allies committed similar crimes based on the same idea, by presenting Nazism as a normal phenomenon within European history, and by claiming the innocence of the victims of the Vertreibung as they do, the protagonists of the “new” historiography are achieving the same goals as the classic narratives for which the neo-Nazi revisionists strive: a rewriting of twentieth-century European history as most Europeans have understood it from World War II to the present.

  • 46 Eugen Lemberg, Geschichte des Nationalismus in Europa [History of nationalism in Europe] (Stuttgar (...)

33To sum up, we can conclude that the recent debates about the expulsions in Germany are not merely academic debates intended to improve our knowledge of the past. These politicized debates about a major component of the national identity of one of the largest and most powerful European nations have implications that will be felt in the future far beyond Germany. It is impossible to overestimate the significance of the question: To which images of World War II and its aftermath—that is, of the Nazi regime and the Vertreibung—does the German state subscribe? Thus the current debates about the Vertreibung are also debates about the future ways of remembering National Socialism with all its implications for the history of all European nations, and for our understanding of European history in general. The words Nazism, Fascism or Munich 1938 are used all over the world as important terms of reference in political disputes, while names like Winston Churchill or Adolf Hitler are significant pillars of moral orientation. It is therefore a matter of major importance whether we agree or disagree with the assessment of Noam Chomsky: that the Holocaust was the most extreme atrocity in human history and that we lose our humanity if we are willing to enter the arena of debate with those who seek to deny or underplay Nazi crimes. No one in present-day Germany denies the Nazi crimes, but the issue at stake concerns the problem of “underplaying” them, by linking the images of the Holocaust and the Vertreibung as two kinds of “ethnic cleansing.” Current developments in Germany indicate that the “new” ways of remembering the Vertreibung are in fact a return to postwar images based on the equation “what the Germans did to the Jews, the Poles and the Czechs did to Germans.”46 The concept of “ethnic cleansing” has provided an only seemingly new framework. This might be the reason why it has won such popularity within a short period of time in Germany and why some foreign scholars have taken it up too, while at the same time it has not been able to find wider acceptance outside Europe. In view of this development, Noam Chomsky’s warning should be subjected to careful rethinking. A debate with those who seek to underplay Nazi crimes seems inevitable. It is also desirable, if we want to preserve our humanity and our orientation in the European history of the 20th century.

Notes

1 Noam Chomsky: “Historical Revisionism,” March 31, 1992, in www.chomsky.info/letters/19920331.htm (21 November 2006).

2 Anja Kruke, ed., Zwangsmigration und Vertreibung—Europa im 20. Jahrhundert [Forced Migration and Expulsion - Europe in the 20th century] (Bonn: J.H.W. Dietz Nachg., 2006).

3 BdV - Bund der Vertriebenen, www.bund-der-vertriebenen.de (18 December 2006).

4 E. Hahn and H.H. Hahn, “The Resettlement of the German Population from Eastern Europe in Retrospect: On the New Interpretation of ‘Expulsion’ as ‘Ethnic Cleansing’,” DAPIM Studies on the Shoa 19 (2005): 197–217 (In Hebrew with English Abstract).

5 Beschluss des Deutschen Bundestages vom 4. Juli [Resolution of the German Bundestag] 2002 (Drucksache 14/9033 i.V.m. 14/9661), see also http://www.bohemistik.de/beschluss.html. (18 December 2006).

6 Zentrum gegen Vertreibungen [Centre against Expulsions] http://www.z-g-v.de/index1.html (21 November 2006).

7 Markus Meckel www.markusmeckel.de (21 November 2006).

8 Für einen kritischen und aufgeklärten Vergangenheitsdiskurs [For a critical and enlightened debate about the past] Vertreibungszentrum [Centre of the Expulsions] www.vertreibungszentrum.de (18 December 2006).

9 S. Dittrich “Unfähig zur Versöhnung” [Incapable of reconciliation] in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (7 September 2006), 1.

10 For a brief overview of the basic facts see W. Benz, “Fremde in der Heimat: Flucht—Vertreibung—Integration” [The strangers in the homeland: Flight—Expulsion—Integration] in Klaus J. Bade, ed., Deutsche im Ausland—Fremde in Deutschland. Migration in Geschichte und Gegenwart (Munich: C.H. Beck, 1992), pp. 373–386; and W. Benz, ed., Die Vertreibung der Deutschen aus dem Osten. Ursachen, Ereignisse, Folgen [The expulsion of the Germans from the East. Causes, events, consequences] (Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Taschenbuch, 1985; 2nd ed. 1992).

11 Münz Rainer and Ohliger Rainer, “Vergessene Deutsche—erinnerte Deutsche. Flüchtlinge, Vertriebene, Aussiedler” [The forgotten Germans—the remembered Germans. Refugees, expellees, resettlers], in Transit. Europäische Revue No. 15 (1998): 141–157, here 145f.

12 Völkischer Beobachter, 2 January 1945.

13 Bernadette Nitschke, Vertreibung und Aussiedlung der deutschen Bevölkerung aus Polen 1945 bis 1949 [Expulsion and evacuation of the German population from Poland 1945 until 1949] (Munich: Oldenbourg, 2003), p. 275.

14 Tomáš Staněk, “Vertreibung und Aussiedlung der Deutschen aus der Tschechoslowakei 1945–1948” [Expulsion and evacuation of the Germans from Czechoslovakia 1945–1948], in Der Weg in die Katastrophe. Deutsch-tschechoslowakische Beziehungen 1938–1947, Detlef Brandes and Václav Kural, eds., (Essen: Klartext, 1994): 165–186, here 182f.

15 Ágnes Tóth, Migrationen in Ungarn 1945–1948: Vertreibung der Ungarndeutschen, Binnenwanderungen und slowakisch-ungarischer Bevölkerungsaustausch [Migration in Hungary 1945–1948: Expulsion of the Hungarian-Germans, internal migration and the Slovak–Hungarian exchange of population] (Munich: Oldenbourg, 2001), p. 217. “The Holocaustizing of the Transfer-Discourse” 57

16 Brunhilde Scheuringer, 30 Jahre danach. Die Eingliederung der volksdeutschen Flüchtlinge und Vertriebenen in Österreich [30 years after: The integration of the ethnic Germans and expellees in Austria] (Wien: Braumüller, 1983), p. 24.

17 Hans Henning Hahn and Eva Hahn, “Mythos ‘Vertreibung’” [Myth ‘Expulsion’], in Politische Mythen im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert in Mittel- und Osteuropa, Heidi Hein-Kircher and Hans Henning Hahn, eds., (Marburg: Verlag Herder-Institut, 2006), pp. 167–188.

18 Elizabeth Wiskemann. Germany’s Eastern Neighbours: Problems Relating to the Oder-Neisse Line and the Czech Frontiers Region (London et al.: Oxford University Press, 1956), p. 120.

19 Official Statement. US Information Service, Embassy of the United States of America, Washington (14 February 1996) cited according the copy in the archive of Eva and Hans Henning Hahn, Augustfehn.

20 VERTRIEBENEN-TREFFEN: Köhler warnt vor Umschreiben der Geschichte [Expellees-Convention; Köhler warns against rewriting of history], in http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/0,1518,druck-434851,00.html (07.09.2006).

21 Der Spiegel (February 2003), S. 5.

22 Flight and expulsion of Germans during and after WWII, in Wikipedia’s entry: “Expulsions” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_expulsions#Reexamination_of_the_expulsions_in_the_1990s (07 September 2006); the book cited above is by Alfred-Maurice de Zayas, A Terrible Revenge: The Ethnic Cleansing of the East European Germans (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994).

23 For more about the way in which Norman M. Naimark uses earlier German interpretations of the Vertreibung, see Eva Hahn and Hans Henning Hahn, “Alte Legenden und neue Besuche des ‘Ostens’. Über Norman M. Naimarks Geschichtsbilder” [Old Legends and New Visits in the ‘East’], in Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft Vol. 54, No. 7/8 (2006): 687–700.

24 Mathias Beer, ed., Umsiedlung, Flucht und Vertreibung der Deutschen als internationales Problem. Zur Geschichte eines europäischen Irrwegs [Resettlement, flight and expulsion of the Germans as an international problem. History of a European deviation] (Stuttgart: Haus der Heimat, 2002).

25 The exhibition Forced Migration: Flight and Expulsion in Twentieth-Century Europe, shown in Berlin in 2006 offers a good example of this position; see the catalogue of the exhibition Forced Migration: Flight and Expulsion in Twentieth-Century Europe. An Exhibition by the Centre against Expulsions Foundation (Berlin: 2006).

26 Götz Aly, “Europas Selbstzerstörung. Zum geplanten ‘Zentrum gegen Vertreibungen’” [Europes’s self-destruction. About the planned Centre against Expulsions], in Süddeutsche Zeitung (24 July 2003).

27 Joschka Fischer, “Was haben wir uns angetan” [What have we done to ourselves], in Die Zeit (28 August 2003), p. 6.

28 See e.g., Ingo Haar, “Hochgerechnetes Unglück. Die Zahl der deutschen Opfer nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg wird übertrieben” [Calculated disaster. The figures of German victims after WW 2 are exaggerated], in Süddeutsche Zeitung (14 November 2006), p. 13 and the reaction by the leading politician in this field, Erika Steinbach, in www. bund-dervertriebenen.de/presse/index.php3?id=496&druck=1 (19 November 2006).

29 Deutsche Bischofskonferenz [German Bishops-Conference] www.dbk.de (21 September 2005).

30 Sudetendeutsche Zeitung (13 May 2005).

31 Forced Migration: Flight and Expulsion in Twentieth-Century Europe. An Exhibition by the Centre against Expulsions Foundation (Berlin, 2006).

32 Andreas F. Kelletat, “Von der Täter—zur Opfernation? Die Rückkehr des Themas ‘Flucht und Vertreibung’ in den deutschen Vergangenheitsdiskurs bei Grass und anderen” [From the nation of perpetrators to the nation of victims? The return of the topic ‘Flight and expulsion’ in the German discourse about the past in the works of Grass and others], in Triangulum. Germanistisches Jahrbuch für Estland, Lettland und Litauen 2003/2004 (Riga: 2006), pp. 132–147.

33 Sudetendeutsche Zeitung (2 June 2006).

34 Eva Hahn and Hans Henning Hahn, “The Resettlement of the German Population from Eastern Europe in Retrospect: On the New Interpretation of ‘Expulsion’ as ‘Ethnic Cleansing,’” in: DAPIM. Studies on the Shoa, No. 19 (2005): 197–217 (In Hebrew with English Abstract).

35 Alfred Rosenberg, Letzte Aufzeichnungen. Ideale und Idole der nationalsozialistischen Revolution [Last notes. The ideals and icons of the national socialist revolution] (Göttingen: Plesse-Verlag, 1955), p. 291.

36 Eugen Lemberg, Geschichte des Nationalismus in Europa [History of nationalism in Europe] (Stuttgart: Schwab 1950), p. 11.

37 Gotthold Rhode, Völker auf dem Wege…: Verschiebungen der Bevölkerung in Ostdeutschland und Osteuropa seit 1917 [Nations underway…: Dislocation of population in East Germany and Eastern Europe] (Kiel: Hirt, 1952).

38 Götz Aly, “Jahrhundert der Vertreibung” [The century of expulsion], in Wochenpost (29 April 1993).

39 Norman N. Naimark, Fires of Hatred: Ethnic cleansing in twentieth-century Europe (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2001).

40 Norman M. Naimark, “Die Killing Fields des Ostens und Europas geteilte Erinnerung” [The Killing Fields of the East and the divided memory of Europe], in Transit Vol. 30 (2005/2006): 57–69.

41 Eva Hahn and Hans Henning 'Hahn, “Alte Legenden und neue Besuche des ‘Ostens.’ Über Norman M. Naimarks Geschichtsbilder” [Old legends and new visits in the ‘East’], in Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft Vol. 54, No. 7/8 (2006): 687–700.

42 In the original: “mit den europäischen Nationalitätenkriegen verbunden,” in Götz Aly, “Auschwitz und die Politik der Vertreibung” [Auschwitz and the policy of expulsion], in Zwangsmigration in Europa. Zur wissenschaftlichen und politischen Auseinandersetzung um die Vertreibung der Deutschen aus dem Osten, Bernd Faulenbach and Andreas Helle, eds. (Essen: Klartext, 2005), pp. 35–44, here 43.

43 In the original: “Die europäischen Nationen und die Historiker dort sind bisher sehr wenig bereit, über diese Dinge zu sprechen,” ibid. p. 59.

44 In the original: “Das erfordert aber sehr viele Lokerungsübungen noch in ganz Europa,” ibid., p. 59.

45 Hans Lemberg, “Mehr als eine Wanderung. Eine Einführung” [More than a walk: An introduction], in K. Erik Franzen. Die Vertriebenen. Hitlers letzte Opfer (Munich: Propyläen, 2001), pp. 12–33, here 12.

46 Eugen Lemberg, Geschichte des Nationalismus in Europa [History of nationalism in Europe] (Stuttgart: Schwab, 1950), p. 11.

Auteurs

Eva Hahn was a research fellow at the Collegium Carolinum in Munich until 1999. Since then she has worked as an independent historian in Oldenburg, Germany. She is the author of numerous studies on the intellectual history of Central Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries, see http://www.bohemistik.de/evahahn.

Hans Henning Hahn is Professor of East European History at the Carl von Ossietzky University in Oldenburg. He specializes in Polish and Czech history, concentrating on historical research on national stereotypes and German attitudes to East European nations. Among his recent publications are Politische Mythen im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert in Mittel- und Osteuropa, Heidi Hein-Kircher and Hans Henning Hahn, eds., (Marburg: Verlag Herder-Institut, 2006) and Nationale Wahrnehmungen und ihre Stereotypisierung. Beiträge zur Historischen Stereotypenforschung, Hans Henning Hahn, Elena Mannová, eds., (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang Verlag, 2007)

© Central European University Press, 2008

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