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Gendered Memories of the NS-Volksgemeinschaft and the Holocaust: The Theme of ‘Shame’ in Women’s Diaries

September 26, 2019 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Gendered Memories of the NS-Volksgemeinschaft and the Holocaust: The Theme of ‘Shame’ in Women’s Diaries

Shame is a well-known feature of German cultural memory of National Socialism. Whereas research on cultural memory often concentrated on public and political representations, the personal feelings of shame frequently in family memories were ignored. The talk will explore expressions of shame and feelings of guilt in diaries written by German women immediately after the Second World War. In that period, the diarists could not turn a blind eye to the Holocaust or rumors about it and some of them reflected more openly on the brutal nature of the racialized Nazi community, the Volksgemeinschaft. Hence, these diaries offer a nuanced perspective on who and what people were ashamed of at the time and also display wartime gender and other social relations, in which shame and guilt were embedded.

Sabine Grenz is Professor of Interdisciplinary Gender Studies at the University of Vienna. She published widely on commercial sexuality and prostitution, gender methodology, qualitative empirical research and gendered meaning of life constructions. Currently, she is working on an article about shame and German cultural memory and published on this subject “Reading German Women’s Diaries from the Second World War: Methodological, Epistemological and Ethical Dilemmas,” in: Feminist Critique of Knowledge Production, Silvana Carotenuto et al., eds. (Naples, 2014).

Moderator: Karen Auerbach  I  University of North Carolina, Department of History

Held in cooperation with the UNC Chapel Hill Carolina Center for Jewish Studies.

This event is part of the North Carolina German Studies Workshop and Seminar Series.

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September 26, 2019
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Event Category:


569 Hamilton Hall
102 Emerson Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27514 United States
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NC German Studies Seminar & Workshop Series
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