Death in Berlin: From Weimar to Divided Germany

Death in Berlin: From Weimar to Divided Germany

by Monica Black
     
 

ISBN-10: 0521118514

ISBN-13: 9780521118514

Pub. Date: 05/10/2010

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

"Twentieth-century Germany is often described as a culture living in the shadow of mass death. Monica Black's book, however, is the first that traces the changing perceptions, rituals, memories, and sensibilities surrounding death from the Weimar Republic to post-fascist divided Germany. She brilliantly shows not only how the dead haunted the living but also how

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Overview

"Twentieth-century Germany is often described as a culture living in the shadow of mass death. Monica Black's book, however, is the first that traces the changing perceptions, rituals, memories, and sensibilities surrounding death from the Weimar Republic to post-fascist divided Germany. She brilliantly shows not only how the dead haunted the living but also how loss, honor, and moral community were radically transformed in Berlin during these turbulent decades of rapid regime change. This is a first-rate and pioneering account of how Germany's áculture of death' served as a charged intersection of the personal and political in the middle decades of the last century." - Paul Betts, University of Sussex" "With great originality and alertness to detail and perspective, Monica Black explores how the dead were buried in a twentieth-century lifetime of mass murder. This is a history in which millions of dead cast a long shadow interrupted by dictatorship, repression, and defiance. It is a ghost story, about the persistent return of the dead in the imagined communities of bereaved, humiliated, and shamed Berliners. It is an artful perspective on the local, national, and mythic histories that make up modern life," - Peter Fritzsche, author of Life and Death in the Third Reich" "In the middle of the twentieth century, Germany made death its business. This powerful, haunting, ethically acute book puts at its center the primal topics of contamination and violated taboo, fantasies of heroic sacrifice and euphoria in the face of mortality, unrelieved grief, shattered faith, and dread of existential meaninglessness. Death in Berlin is a highly original, continually revelatory history of moral values and their malleability," - Dagmar Herzog, Graduate Center, City University of New York" "During the air raids of the Second World War and the privations of postwar occupation, under four different regimes, each with its own slant on burial and cremation, Berliners insisted on commemorating their dead in their own ways. With the sensitivity of an anthropologist and the poignancy of a cultural historian, Monica Black probes the personal and social meanings of death. Beautifully written - by turns revealing, moving, and startling - this is a magnificent scholarly achievement." - Nicholas Stargardt, Magdalen College, Oxford University" We tend to think of death as a basic and immutable fact of life. Yet death, too, has a history. Death in Berlin is the first study to trace the rituals, practices, perceptions, and sensibilities surrounding death in the context of Berlin's multiple transformations over the decades between Germany's defeat in World War I and the construction of the Berlin Wall. Evocatively illustrated and drawing on a rich collection of sources, Monica Black's study reveals the centrality of death to the evolving moral and social life of one metropolitan community. In this book, she connects the intimacies of everyday life and death to events on the grand historical stage that changed the lives of millions - all in a city that stood at the center of some of the twentieth century's most transformative events.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521118514
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
05/10/2010
Series:
Publications of the German Historical Institute Series
Pages:
324
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

Illustrations

Acknowledgments

Abbreviations

Introduction 1

1 Death in Berlin, circa 1930 19

2 Nazi Ways of Death 69

3 Death in Everyday Life 111

4 Death and Reckoning 145

5 Death in Socialism 187

6 Death and the West 229

Conclusions 271

Bibliography 281

Index 301

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