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Constructing and Leveraging “Flight and Expulsion”: Expellee Memory Politics in the Federal Republic of Germany, 1944-1990
December 3, 2017 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
The presentation examines the widespread antagonism and hostility that victims of flight and expulsion faced upon their arrival in Germany between 1945 and 1949 and expellee responses. A condensed version of chapter three of his dissertation, Peter argues that in the early postwar years, expellees articulated their experiences of sufferings in “sympathy narratives” in order to cope with their traumas and argue for social recognition and material aid to overcome the humanitarian crisis. In doing so, they cultivated an identity of a unique “community of fate” that provided a platform for the politicization of “flight and expulsion” during the 1950s.
Peter Gengler is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research broadly focuses on East and West German cultural memories of war and dictatorship. He is currently completing his dissertation, “‘Flight and Expulsion’: Expellee Victimhood Narratives and Memory Politics in the Federal Republic of Germany, 1944-1990.”