Destinations Magazine

The Third Reich Revisited: The War Generation

By Stizzard
The Third Reich revisited: The war generation Fighting a losing war

GERMAN television viewers are used to frequent programmes exploring the Nazi era and the second world war. But rarely has such a programme triggered as much debate and interest as the screening in mid-March of a three-part drama, “Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter” (Our Mothers, Our Fathers), which tracks the lives of five young German friends from 1941 to 1945.The fictional drama, based on scrupulous research, had on average 7.6m viewers per night. Suddenly the few survivors of Germany’s wartime generation are being sought out as never before by talk shows and newspapers. Grandfathers and grandmothers, who for years kept silent, or were never asked, are facing questions about how it could happen, what it was like and whether they saw atrocities. Some more painful questions about who committed what atrocity are resurfacing, too.Nearly 70 years after the end of the Third Reich, Germans feel compelled to keep their country’s Nazi history alive. “It’s not about guilt any more, but it is about collective responsibility,” says Arnd Bauerkämper, professor of history and cultural studies at the Free…

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