A hospital in Erlangen is the only surviving building in Germany where patients with mental illness were systematically murdered in the Nazi era. It is now slated for demolition, over the protests of those who seek to preserve it as a site of remembrance.  (The Spectator, 4/23/23)

In Germany today, more than 4,000 public monuments commemorate the victory of the Soviet Union in World War II. Their ongoing protection is driven by “a mixture of bureaucratic drift, aversion to change and a rock-solid commitment to honoring the victims of Nazi aggression that trumps any shifts in global affairs.”  (The New York Times, 4/28/23)

“To reexamine the connections among the Third Reich, the genocide of the Herero and Nama, and other colonial crimes is to throw a more critical light on a broader arc of German history, including the Wilhelmine period. It means understanding that colonialism had long-term consequences not only for the colonized but also for the colonizers.”  (The New York Review, 3/9/23)

Rafaël Newman considers the tumultuous lifespan of painter Max Liebermann (1847–1935) and an intriguing new exhibit at the Deutsches Historisches Museum, “Roads Not Taken,” on key caesuras in German history between 1989 and 1848.  (3 Quarks Daily, 1/30/23)

What does it mean for a society to master its past, and what is the role of individual citizens? Despite the existence of an extensive archive for the files of the East German secret police, a recent study shows that “the majority of people on whom the Stasi kept files have not opened them.”  (The Guardian, 11/28/22)

“It was wrong to take the bronzes, and it was wrong to keep them for 120 years.” Germany has begun the process of repatriating its more than one thousand plundered Benin Bronzes to Nigeria. When will other countries follow suit?  (The New York Times, 12/20/22; The Guardian, 12/20/22)

“Rachel Posner, a rabbi’s wife in Kiel, Germany, took a photograph in 1931 that she had no idea would one day resonate with people across the world.” Ninety years later years after the Posner family fled for their lives, their descendants and renowned menorah have returned to Kiel.  (The New York Times, 12/19/22)

“The impression one gets from these sanitized histories is that this was a man who had materialized out of nowhere, with no discernible past, like an astrophysical Mary Poppins who had come to teach the people of Huntsville how to make rockets.” U.S. institutions have a long way to go in examining their relationship with pivotal figures of the Nazi war machine, such as Alfried Krupp and Wernher von Braun.  (The New York Times, 12/13/22)

Onkel Toms Hütte is one of Berlin’s most distinctive U-Bahn stations, with a name that references Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel, a long-gone Biergarten, and a modernist housing development designed by Bruno Taut. Once a flashpoint in the great “roof war” of 1928, it’s now the center of a 21st-century controversy about the anti-Black slur that “Uncle Tom” has become. NPR, (7/30/08; Atlas Obscura, 1/19/17; The Washington Post, 11/27/22)

The newly renamed Manga-Bell-Platz and Cornelius-Fredericks-Straße in Berlin’s “African Quarter” now honor African resisters, not German colonizers.  (The Guardian, 12/2/22)

“Many of Germany’s most powerful memorials did not begin as state-sanctioned projects, but emerged—and are still emerging—from ordinary people outside the government who pushed the country to be honest about its past.”  (The Atlantic, 11/14/22)

“While we tend to think of courts as the guardrails of democracy, in 1920s Germany they were among its most implacable and insidious enemies.”  (The Washington Post, 10/29/22)

Germany’s fight over which weapons to give Ukraine, says Anne Applebaum, is really a fight over the lessons of 1945. Which is more important: preventing another genocide in Europe, “even if that means a military engagement,” or preventing “war at all costs by refusing to engage in one”?  (The Atlantic,  10/20/22)

Murdered at Dachau in March 1933, Arthur Kahn is believed to be the Holocaust’s first Jewish victim. Mattie Kahn honors and grieves the great-uncle she never knew.  (The Atlantic, 5/5/22)

The Habsburg empress Elisabeth is enjoying a 21st-century media moment—but this isn’t your grandma’s Sisi.  (The Guardian, 7/8/22; The New York Times, 10/7/22)

Not so banal after all: Hours of old tape recordings—once inaccessible to Israeli prosecutors, but now the basis of a new documentary—expose Adolf Eichmann’s “visceral, ideological antisemitism, his zeal for hunting down Jews and his role in the mechanics of mass murder.”  (The New York Times, 7/4/22)

When thousands of perpetrators of Nazi-era war crimes were still alive, German prosecutors were reluctant to pursue them. Now 90- and even 100-somethings are being charged as accessories to murder.  (The Irish Times, 7/2/22)

“It was wrong to take the bronzes and it was wrong to keep them.” Germany is returning two Benin bronzes and more than one thousand other items from its museums’ collections to Nigeria.  (Artnet, 6/29/22; The Guardian, 7/1/22)

“Putin’s selective telling of the past exaggerates the legacy of Nazism in Ukraine while ignoring the state’s historic struggle for pluralism and democracy. There is a good reason for this: he fears democracy more than he fears Nazism.”   (The Conversation, 2/26/22; The New Fascism Syllabus, 2/26/22; New Statesman, 3/2/22)

“Germany’s much-vaunted memory culture,” writes Eric Langenbacher, “is no longer producing the progressive effects that were always a key justification behind it.” Instead, it’s leading to inaction and “providing moralistic cover for anti-democratic, autocratic threats.”  (The New York Times, 1/25/22; AICGS, 2/14/22)

An Inventory of Losses by Judith Schalansky, translated by Jackie Smith, is “a fine example of everyone’s favourite genre: the genre-defying book, inspired by history, filtered through imagination and finished with a jeweller’s eye for detail.”  (The Guardian, 12/4/20;  The White Review, 1/2021)

“The underlying Ostpolitik gambit of Egon Bahr, Brandt’s adviser, was a judo throw: entice your heavy, slow-moving opponent, the Soviet Union, to lean so far into your embrace that with a skilful twist you can throw him over your shoulder. Now it is Putin, a judo black belt, who is trying to throw heavy, slow-moving Germany over his shoulder.”  (Financial Times, 2/9/22)