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Apologia in German and Japanese Post-War Film: A Comparative Analysis of Exculpatory Discourses on the German and Japanese Military in World War II.

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In the sixty-seven years following the end of World War II, West Germany and Japan underwent a remarkable series of economic and social changes that irrevocably altered their respective ways of life. Formerly xenophobic, militaristic and highly socially stratified societies,

In the sixty-seven years following the end of World War II, West Germany and Japan underwent a remarkable series of economic and social changes that irrevocably altered their respective ways of life. Formerly xenophobic, militaristic and highly socially stratified societies, both emerged from the 20th Century as liberal, prosperous and free. Both made great strides well beyond the expectations of their occupiers, and rebounded from the overwhelming destruction of their national economies within a few short decades. While these changes have yielded dramatic results, the wartime period still looms large in their respective collective memories. Therefore, an ongoing and diverse dialectical process would engage the considerable popular, official, and intellectual energy of their post-war generations. In West Germany, the term Vergangenheitsbewältigung (VGB) emerged to describe a process of coming to terms with the past, while the Japanese chose kako no kokufuku to describe their similar historical sojourns. Although intellectuals of widely varying backgrounds in both nations made great strides toward making Japanese and German citizens cognizant of the roles that their militaries played in gruesome atrocities, popular cinematic productions served to reiterate older, discredited assertions of the fundamental honor and innocence of the average soldier, thereby nurturing a historically revisionist line of reasoning that continues to compete for public attention. All forms of media would play an important role in sustaining this “apologetic narrative,” and cinema, among the most popular and visible of these mediums, was not excluded from this. Indeed, films would play a unique recurring role, like rhetorical time capsules, in offering a sanitized historical image of Japanese and German soldiers that continues to endure in modern times. Nevertheless, even as West Germany and Japan regained their sovereignty and re-examined their pasts with ever greater resolution and insight, their respective film industries continued to “reset” the clock, and accentuated the visibility and relevancy of apologetic forces still in existence within both societies. However, it is important to note that, when speaking of “Germans” and “Japanese,” that they are not meant to be thought of as being uniformly of one mind or another. Rather, the use of these words is meant as convenient shorthand to refer to the dominant forces in Japanese and German civil society at any given time over the course of their respective post- war histories. Furthermore, references to “Germany” during the Cold War period are to be understood to mean the Federal Republic of Germany, rather than their socialist counterpart, the German Democratic Republic, a nation that undertook its own coming to terms with the past in an entirely distinct fashion.

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2012-12

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The City in View Comparative Representations and Historical Memory of the Warsaw Ghetto in Memoir and Film

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When the Warsaw Ghetto was demolished by German forces towards the end of World War II, there were few physical traces of the Ghetto left standing. As such, both historians and the public must look to other types of sources

When the Warsaw Ghetto was demolished by German forces towards the end of World War II, there were few physical traces of the Ghetto left standing. As such, both historians and the public must look to other types of sources to understand what life and death were like for the inhabitants of the Ghetto, and how they have remembered their experiences within the Ghetto. These memories and representations of the Warsaw Ghetto can be found in memoir-style written works, and later, in films based on these works. This thesis will examine the ways in which the Warsaw Ghetto was represented by two authors who survived it, Władisław Szpilman and Marcel Reich-Ranicki, and how their memory of the Warsaw Ghetto is represented in the films based on their lives and survival, The Pianist, and Mein Leben: Marcel Reich-Ranicki.

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2020

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Resilience, Rescue, and Resistance: The History of the Loewy Family in Europe and United States

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Through the lens of a Jewish family in the early 20th century, histories of resilience, rescue, and resistance are shown. The Loewys were a Jewish family who migrated from Poland to Germany then France and ending up in the United

Through the lens of a Jewish family in the early 20th century, histories of resilience, rescue, and resistance are shown. The Loewys were a Jewish family who migrated from Poland to Germany then France and ending up in the United States following World War II. In their travels they experienced many of which other Jewish experiences were, while also differentiating from the overall story. The family also experienced life as refugees and interns during the Holocaust. Arrested in Vichy following the Armistice between Germany and France, the Loewys were later granted their freedom which they used to help free others from the camp. One of the few stories of Jews rescuing Jews, the family began its life as resistors to the Vichy and German occupation. Participating in both passive and active resistance from 1940-1944, they witnessed the highs and lows of this new life. The end of the war saw the family make it to the United States beginning their next chapter as survivors of the Holocaust and the war. With the use of primary source material provided by the Loewys, along with scholarly work about the different periods, the story of the Loewys is one of resilience in the face of mounting adversity, rescuing of internes from camps, and resistance against an occupational force that furthers the research of the Jewish experience in the early 20th century.

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2020