Haunted City: Nuremberg and the Nazi Past

Neil Gregor, Author Yale University Press $45 (390p) ISBN 978-0-300-10107-2
How does a city that became a symbol of one of the greatest blights on human history live on after those times? And what becomes of its inhabitants, in their psychology and daily lives? Those questions are at the crux of this book by German historian Gregor, which looks at the horrors of the Holocaust by way of the post-war problems of German citizens and the incoming population of ""refugees""-a term serving as a ""catch-all marker of difference... relative to the indigenous population."" Keen insight and observation mark this cultural history; for example, the welfare effort to improve the miserable living conditions of refugees ""acted, if anything, to reinforce the sense of separation and isolation from the broader community."" Gregor's layered understanding of the time's cultural and social problems serves readers well throughout, teasing out the undertones of ""division, conflict, and often enough, hatred"" masked by a ""language of shared experience,"" a ""community of acknowledged suffering"" and ""social sympathy for those affected in one way or another by Nazism and war."" Throughout, Gregor deftly accounts for the forces of anger, remembrance and reconciliation. Well-researched and devoid of cliche, this is a successful but dense cultural history.
Reviewed on: 12/01/2008
Release date: 12/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
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