GERMAN STUDIES REVIEW: Volume XXVII, Number 1 (February 2004)
 
    The German Secrets of New Orleans

    Patricia Herminghouse
    University of Rochester

    Brushing against the grain of the popular images of the nineteenth-century "good German" immigrant and exotic, "French" New Orleans, this essay offers a somewhat different picture of the little-noted presence of Germans in antebellum New Orleans. Ludwig von Reizenstein's now-obscure potboiler "Die Geheimnisse von New Orleans" offers a starting point, but stranger than his fiction is an actual court case involving an enslaved German girl. The threat of yellow fever, economic competition from both slave and free black labor, and the trauma of secession all shaped the immigrants' adaptation to the "Southern way of life."
 
    Victims? Perpetrators? “Punching Bags” of European Historical Memory? The Austrians and Their World War II Legacies

    Günter Bischof
    University of New Orleans

    Has Austria mastered the horrid chapters of its World War II past? For some 40 years, Austrians hid behind the official “victim’s doctrine.” This argument that Austria was a victim of Hitler Germany broke apart after the 1986 “Waldheim affair.” A more candid confrontation with its past became the hallmark of Austrian politics in the 1990s, as Austrians’ contribution to Nazi war crimes were no longer glossed over. In 2000/1 the Schüssel government agreed to two major restitution settlements with victims of forced labor and Nazi “aryanization.” The Historikerkommission began publishing reports on wartime property transfers and postwar restitution efforts in 2003. In terms of World War II memory Austria is no longer “the black sheep” of Europe.
 
    Whatever Happened to Veronica Voss? Rehabilitating the “68ers” and the Problem of Westalgie in Oskar Roehler’s Die Unberührbare (2000)

    Paul Cooke
    University of Leeds

    This article examines the complex relationship the filmmaker Oskar Roehler has with the generation of the New German Cinema, and particularly with the work of Rainer Werner Fassbinder. The author suggests that in Die Unberührbare (2000), a fictionalized account of the life of Roehler’s mother, he uses the tradition of the New German Cinema against itself, to interrogate the values of Fassbinder and his contemporaries. However, at the same time, he attempts to recuperate at least some of their values, using them as a touchstone by which Roehler’s own generation can be judged.
 
    Freies Deutschland” Guerrilla Warfare in East Prussia, 1944-1945: A Contribution to the History of the German Resistance

    Perry Biddiscombe
    The University of Victoria

    Traditional accounts of the anti-Hitler resistance have portrayed it largely as an elite phenomenon that did not take grass-roots forms such as partisan warfare. Leftists and proponents of Alltagsgeschichte have challenged this thesis by noting occasional manifestations of anti-Nazi guerrilla activity, particularly along the fringes of the Third Reich. The guerrillas of Freies Deutschland, who parachuted into East Prussia, were one such case. However, these events also confirm the orthodox viewpoint in one respect: the forlorn guerrillas along this fringe of Nazi Germany enjoyed little local sympathy and they were politically and militarily isolated.
 
    Hans Fallada Fixes at Zero Hour: A Bad Example for Rethinking the Postwar Canon

    Benjamin Robinson
    Northern Illinois University

    Hans Fallada has suffered from a poor political reputation affecting his position in the literary canon. Instead of straightening out this political and canonical maladjustment, the essay argues for Fallada’s significance as a bad example for those looking for moral and political lessons in mid-century German letters. Der Alpdruck, his 1947 novel about a Soviet-installed mayor, depicts his wrong-headedness, first, as the autobiographical protagonist fails to adopt a satisfactory affect toward postwar guilt and innocence, and second, as he eyes two would-be benefactors, fictional counterparts to Gottfried Benn and Johannes R. Becher, with a wily realism that serves as a foil to their cultural or political responsibility.
 
    Reluctant Justice: Government Legal Intervention on Behalf of Jews in Imperial Germany

    Barnet Hartston
    Eckerd College

    In 1900, Prussian government officials sent special police commissars to intervene in a sensational ritual murder investigation in the West Prussian town of Konitz. Despite occasional displays of incompetence, these special investigators generally held themselves aloof from popular anti-Semitic pressure and worked diligently to secure an acquittal for the Jewish defendant. But was this intervention by outside investigators an isolated case in Imperial Germany? Did it represent a trend of “responsible” government behavior in dealing with anti-Semitic incidents? This article will attempt to answer these questions by examining government actions in four additional anti-Semitic causes célèbres in the early Kaiserreich.
 
    Auschwitz und die Deutschen im Spiegel polnischer Schullektüren

    Joachim Neander und Marzena Dabrowa Szatko
    Kraków, Poland

    This essay examines the images of “Germans,” and especially of “Auschwitz,” which are communicated to children growing up in Polish homes and schools through the popular Wanda legend, the novel Krzyzacy by H. Sienkiewicz, the short-story cycle Medaliony by Z. Nalkowska, and the Auschwitz stories by T. Borowski. While the first three texts highlight traditional conflicts between Germans and Poles, Borowski’s tales point the way to dialogue across barriers of time and nationality. The essay ends therefore in a plea for inclusion of these texts in the standard reading lists of German Gymnasiums.
 
    Grete Weil, a Jewish Author?

    Michelle Mattson
    Iowa State University

    This article uses theoretical approaches to the nature of Jewish self-identification to discuss Grete Weil’s efforts in Der Brautpreis to make her Jewish identity emotionally meaningful. Particularly fruitful for an analysis of this novel is Michael Krausz’s assertion that secular Jews can make Jewishness meaningful individually by seeing themselves as part of a “valued Jewish narrative that one both occupies and fashions.” In this vein, this analysis sees the novel’s structure and content as Weil’s attempt to write herself as a character into Jewish history, thus forging a bond to a cultural heritage to which she had previously felt no real connection.
 
  Table of contents for current volumes