student profile: Mr Cameron Rowland


Thesis work

Thesis title: Reflecting on third-generation Germans dealing with their past

Supervisors: Kellie BURNS , Timothy ALLENDER

Thesis abstract:

�strong��u�Title: �/u��/strong��br /� Reflecting on Third-Generation German perceptions of the Holocaust�br /� �strong��u�Academic Staff Contact: �/u��/strong��br /� Associate Professor Tim Allender�br /� �a href=""��/a��br /� �strong��u�Overview of the Study:�/u��/strong��br /� I will be investigating the attitudes of Third-Generation Germans pertaining to the Holocaust. Through interviewing those of German descent who have recently immigrated to Australia, I will be able to understand the various ways Germans view the Holocaust. Importantly, the exchanges will help affirm or challenge current beliefs and knowledge propagated by historians and those in the media as to how holocaust memory changes the past and what might be new revisions in interpreting this part of German history as the era itself moves from living memory.�br /� �br /� �br /� �strong��u�Purpose of the study:�/u��/strong��br /� The purpose is to explore the various attitudes of Third-Generation Germans towards remembering the Holocaust. I will seek to ascertain how significant the events of the Holocaust are in affecting German people’s identity today. Importantly, this research will help extend our knowledge of the perceptions Germans have of the event, broadening our understanding of what we previously know from popular history and media and the processes at work in recalling painful aspects of a nation’s past.�br /� �br /� �strong��u�Relevant Background Literature:�/u��/strong��br /� I have been fascinated with the Holocaust, having read voraciously on the historical period. One of my highlights of undertaking History at University of Sydney was meeting Christopher Browning. Browning has focussed his work on arguing German perpetrators were motivated to kill as a result of social factors like conformity and peer pressure: ‘The fundamental problem is to explain why ordinary men…. under specific circumstances willingly carried out the most extreme genocide in human history (Browning, 1992, p.222).’�br /� �br /� Moreover, my interest has led me to explore studies by historians’ relating to the memory of the Holocaust among second-generation Germans. Roger Frie’s article (2014) delved into key attitudes experienced by Germans, including the tendency of people to remain silent about their family involvement in Nazi Germany: “Silence is a potent theme in any discussion of Nazism and the Holocaust (Frie, 2014, p.263).” Frie’s work thus shows how families have often concertedly avoided talking about their Nazi heritage with the Third-generation.�br /� Additionally, Marty Blatt has explored the shame Germans endured by Third-generation Germans relating to their family’s controversial past. Additionally Harold Welzer’s study into Second-generation German attitudes pertaining to the Holocaust elucidates the difficulty of comprehending the events of 1941-45 in Poland.�br /� �br /� Regina Seiler: ‘I can’t imagine that the German people, even my father, I really think they couldn’t imagine that something like that could happen (Welzer, 2008, p.292).’ �br /� Conversely, recent work by Dembling (2011, p.476) has shown how families have attempted to characterise their ancestors as victims of Nazism in a putative effort to improve their family legacy. The works aforementioned reveal the vast array of views associated with both Second and Third-generation Germans towards the events of the Holocaust.�br /� �br /� �strong��u�Research Questions:�/u��/strong��br /� How do Third-generation Germans remember the Holocaust?�br /� To what extent do the events of the Holocaust affect the identities of Third-generation German peoples?�br /� Account for the attitudes of Third-generation Germans towards the Holocaust?�br /� �br /� �strong��u�Definition of Key Terms: �/u��/strong��br /� �strong�Post-memory�/strong�- ‘indirect and inherited nature of traumatic memory across generations (Frie, 2014, p.262)�br /� �strong�Transgenerational traumatization�/strong�-The feeling of guilt and responsibility for the actions of past members of their family�br /� �br /� �strong��u�Research Methodology: �/u��/strong��br /� My research will be completed using semi-structured interviews. A set of predetermined questions will be used to investigate issues about the views and attitudes of Third-generation Germans towards their historical past. Additional, follow up questions will be also possible in view of the responses to my original questions. To ensure the validity of the research, the findings will be compared with other sources. Gary McCulloch discusses the importance of triangulation in research, by stating that it’s vital the researcher uses a variety of documents that are representative of different viewpoints (McCulloch, 2004, p.44). Hence, I will be analysing documents from the period, ensuring I ‘appraise reliability, that is, how far its account can be relied on (McCulloch, 2004, p. 42).’ Prolonged engagement with interviewees, debriefing to clarify anything they discussed, and reviewing results with supervisor will help ensure the research is more accurate.�br /� �br /� �strong��u�Significance:�/u��/strong��br /� There has been extensive research which informs us about both second and Third Generation Jewish attitudes, with historians very familiar with their conception of the event. Yet there is very little understanding of this particular Third-Generation Germans attitudes for the Holocaust (Welzer, 2008, p.289). With it now being over 70 years since the end of the Second World War and liberation of the camps, there is ample opportunity to speak in a more open manner to Third-Generation Germans who feel more comfortable espousing their views. This research is significant as it has the potential to enhance our understanding of the German perspective on the Holocaust- something not widely propounded as yet. It also will help dispel any assumptions we may have about how they perceive it, enabling future scholars to continue more extensive work on the topic.�br /� �br /� �strong��u�Ethical considerations:�/u��/strong��br /� Informed consent will need to be obtained in order to interview the respondents. This will be completed with consultation of my supervisor in early April 2017. The identity of all participants will be strictly confidential and the research will be kept in a locked steel filing cabinet in my supervisor’s office.�br /� �br /� �strong��u�Anticipated problems and limitations:�/u��/strong��br /� One particular problem I predict will be devising suitable questions that help engage with the respondents. This will be remedied by consulting with supervisor on ways to approach questioning in the semi-structured interviews and in anticipating, as far as possible, likely responses and therefore appropriate follow up questions.�br /� �strong��u�Resources:�/u��/strong��br /� Resources required for the research include electronic devices such as mobile phone for recording semi-structured interviews. Skype will also most likely be used for part of the research. I will be using official documents and other textual references for my research which will be located in nearby libraries and other depositories.�br /� �br /� �strong��u�Timetable for the Research (February 2017-November 2018)�/u��/strong��br /� �strong��u�February/ March 2017�/u��/strong� �ul� �li� Locating respondents for the Research project�/li� �li� Reading scholarly research on the Topic of Holocaust memory on Third-Generation Germans.�/li� �li�Meeting with supervisor to talk through process of interview and possible inquiry questions for research.�/li� �li�Submitting Ethics proposal for interviews�/li� �/ul� �strong��u�April 2017�/u��/strong� �ul� �li�Formulating questions for Interview process�/li� �li�Drafting a Literature Review on the topic�/li� �li�Begin the process of undertaking an Ethics proposal.�/li� �/ul� �br /� �strong��u�May/June 2017�/u��/strong� �ul� �li�Meet with supervisor to review the process of undertaking interviews.�/li� �li�Review Literature review of the topic�/li� �/ul� �br /� �strong��u�July/August 2017�/u��/strong��br /� �ul� �li�History conference in Sydney for Holocaust Memory�/li� �/ul� �br /� �strong��u�September/ October 2017�/u��/strong� �ul� �li�Drafting chapters of Thesis.�/li� �/ul� �strong��u�October/November/ December 2017�/u��/strong��br /� �ul� �li�Working on Chapters 1�/li� �/ul� �br /� �strong��u�January/February/ March/ April 2018�/u��/strong� �ul� �li�Drafting Chapters 2 and 3�/li� �/ul� �br /� �strong��u�May/June 2018�/u��/strong� �ul� �li�Drafting Chapter 4�/li� �/ul� �strong��u�September/ October 2018�/u��/strong� �ul� �li�Review Draft Thesis with Supervisor�/li� �li�Begin process of second draft of Thesis.�/li� �/ul� �strong��u�November 2018�/u��/strong� �ul� �li�Submission of Thesis by end of November.�/li� �/ul� �br /� �u�Bibliography:�/u��br /� Blatt, M. (2012). Holocaust Memory and Germany. �em�The Public Historian�/em�, �em�34�/em� (�em�4�/em�), 53-66.�br /� Browning, C. ( 1993). �em�Ordinary men: Reserve police battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland.�/em� New York: Harper Collins Publishing.�br /� Dembling M., K. (2011). Family, memory and generational difference in 2005 films by Malte Ludin and Hens Schanze. �em�The German Quarterly�/em�, �em�84 (4)�/em�, 477-495.�br /� Frie, R. (2014). Limits of understanding: Pyschological experience, German memory and the Holocaust. �em�Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society�/em�, �em�19 (3)�/em�, 255-271.�br /� McCulloch, G. (2004). Documentary research in education, history and the social sciences. New York: Routledge Falmer.�br /� Welzer, H. (2008). Collateral damage of History education: National Socialism and the Holocaust in German Family Memory. �em�Social Research�/em�, �em�75 (1)�/em�, 287-300.

Note: This profile is for a student at the University of Sydney. Views presented here are not necessarily those of the University.