Vergangenheitsbewältigung: Representing and Confronting the Nazi Past in Postwar German Film, 1945-1961
MetadataShow full item record
When Germany surrendered in May 1945, cultural life found itself at a standstill. In the west, the Allies took immediate control of the film industry, including the reeducation and denazification of German citizens, while the Soviets and German film personalities in the east began to rebuild the film industry with the establishment of the film studio DEFA in 1946. The aim of this research is to examine the role of German films produced between 1946 and 1961 in addressing and confronting the German experiences of the Nazi period and wartime. Films produced between 1945 and 1961 attempted to address and confront the immediate past through representations of psychological trauma, criticisms of ordinary Germans and accountability, and the definition of gendered experiences of war and postwar society. Studying German postwar cinema is useful in understanding the ways that the Germans understood their immediate past, especially considering that the same questions relating to guilt and responsibility would reemerge in scholarly and public debate in the 1990s.