A Past Without Shadow examines 50 years of German children's books in which the darkest horrors of the Third Reich have routinely remained hidden. The horrors of the Third Reich are systematically screened and filtered, allowing the darker, bleaker parts of history to escape illumination. Here Zohar Shavit explores 345 German books for children describing the Third Reich and the Holocaust, and finds a shocking distortion of the past: a recurrent narrative which suggests that the Germans themselves had no hand in the suffering inflicted on the Jews. These books, Shavit argues, have created the false historical lesson that the real victims of Hitler's crimes were the German people themselves.
First published to great acclaim in Hebrew and now available in English, this book is a wake-up call for anyone concerned about German children's literature and its responsibility to past and future.
About the Author
Table of ContentsIntroduction to the English Edition Part 1: The "Story" of the German Past and the Construction of its Past Image 1. The Development of German Books for Children on the Third Reich and World War II 2. Keys to the Past Image 3. Construction of the Past Image Part 2: Strategies in the Construction of the "Story" Preface to Parts II and III 4. "Present, but not in Place" 5. "The Dream of the Thousand-Year Reich" - The Borders of the Reich and the Boundaries of Time 6. "Some of my Best Friends ... " - Philo-Semitic and Anti-Semitic Descriptions of the Jews 7. "Not the Way it Looks" - Nazis and Pseudo-Nazis 8. "If Only I Could ...." - An Analogy between Jews and Nazis Part 3: Whose War Was It? 9. "The Whole People ... " - The Scope of the Resistance Movement 10. "Actually, I Myself was a Victim" - The Germans as Victims 11. "I'm not Guilty" - The Germans and Guilt Part 4: The Construction of an Alternative Discourse 12. "Seeing it Differently" - An Alternative Narrative. Conclusion: The Image of the Past in German Public Discourse and Texts for Children
What People are Saying About This
...[S]imply fascinating. Where is Germany going if its children learn to remember things that constitute a distortion and falsification of their past?.(Elie Wiesel, author of Night)