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Gender and the Generations of Difficult Knowledge: Recent Responses to Familial Legacies of Nazi Perpetration

Gender and the Generations of Difficult Knowledge: Recent Responses to Familial Legacies of Nazi... Abstract: Over the last decade the children and grandchildren of Nazi perpetrators have produced a wave of autobiographical and semi-autobiographical books in which they seek to publicly work through the affective aftermath of repressed familial guilt. Two books are the focus of this article: Margret Nissen’s 2005 memoir of growing up as the daughter of Hitler’s star architect and armament minister Albert Speer, and Alexandra Senfft’s 2007 memories of her mother, the oldest daughter of Hitler’s representative in Slovakia, Hanns Ludin. My reading focuses on the gendered narratives the authors employ as they constitute their respective generational identities vis-à-vis the difficult knowledge of silenced and denied family histories. Because of their families’ fame, Nissen and Senfft mobilize frames of reading and narration beyond themselves, thus paving the way for a new generation of respondents to such stories. (SL) http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Women in German Yearbook: Feminist Studies in German Literature & Culture University of Nebraska Press

Gender and the Generations of Difficult Knowledge: Recent Responses to Familial Legacies of Nazi Perpetration

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
Copyright
Copyright © University of Nebraska Press
ISSN
1940-512X
Publisher site
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Abstract

Abstract: Over the last decade the children and grandchildren of Nazi perpetrators have produced a wave of autobiographical and semi-autobiographical books in which they seek to publicly work through the affective aftermath of repressed familial guilt. Two books are the focus of this article: Margret Nissen’s 2005 memoir of growing up as the daughter of Hitler’s star architect and armament minister Albert Speer, and Alexandra Senfft’s 2007 memories of her mother, the oldest daughter of Hitler’s representative in Slovakia, Hanns Ludin. My reading focuses on the gendered narratives the authors employ as they constitute their respective generational identities vis-à-vis the difficult knowledge of silenced and denied family histories. Because of their families’ fame, Nissen and Senfft mobilize frames of reading and narration beyond themselves, thus paving the way for a new generation of respondents to such stories. (SL)

Journal

Women in German Yearbook: Feminist Studies in German Literature & CultureUniversity of Nebraska Press

Published: Nov 7, 2009

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