De zoektocht naar het midden - Nieuwe perspectieven op de herinnering aan de Tweede Wereldoorlog in Vlaanderen en Duitsland | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 52, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1876-9071
  • E-ISSN: 2214-5729


This essay examines contemporary rewritings of World War II memory narratives. Drawing on the examples of (1995) by German author Marcel Beyer and (1999) by Flemish author Erwin Mortier, I analyse the ways in which both authors address the complex processes of the transfer of guilt and perpetratorship from one generation to the next, which have marked public discourses in both national collectives in the aftermath of the war. This analysis shows how both authors challenge such habitual transfer, instead insisting on critical distance, empathic witnessing, and narrative integration. In this manner, they enable a fresh and productive approach of the past that moves beyond guilty silence, assignation of blame, or even calls for amnesty – this stance notably sets them apart from previous writings on the war.


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