Aktuelle Fellows

Carmel Heeley, prospective PhD student in history at the Leo Baeck Institute, Queen Mary University London. Project: The Germans, the Jews and the Alps: How Moral Values, Bavarian Traditions and Sport Formed the Personal and Professional Relationships between German-Gentiles and German-Jews in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, 1920-1950.

This project aims to arrive at an understanding of how moral sentiments, moral values and fantasies formed the self-understanding of German society between 1920-1950, especially during the Third Reich. Further, how these sentiments, values and fantasies legitimised the inclusion and exclusion of minorities in German society, particularly Jewish minorities.

The focus will be on the Bavarian town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, owing to its belonging to a region that claims a particular relationship to Nazism and more poignantly due its long-standing self-identification with quintessential ‘German’ traditions, landscape and history. It is my intention to engage with the neglected debate surrounding the relationship between Jewry and the concepts integral to this self-identification – notably Heimat and Alpinismus – which, from a Gentile point of view, served to legitimise or delegitimise the place of Jews in German society, particularly during the Third Reich. Analysing the sentiments, values and fantasies that were inextricably bound to such concepts and more widely populated the shared consciousness of Garmisch-Partenkirchen’s (Gentile and Jewish) residents will thus lead to an understanding of how these, as specifically ‘German’ conceptions, played a fundamental role in regional Jewish-Gentile relations and to a certain extent more broadly, in Third Reich society.

Craig Sorvillo is a current PhD candidate at the University of Florida. He has previously received Masters degrees from in history from George Mason University (2011) and in Liberal Studies from the University of Pennsylvania (2009). His current project title is, The Devil’s Advocate: Rudolf Aschenauer, Post-War Justice and Historical Memory.
His dissertation examines the life and career of German defense attorney Rudolf Aschenauer. Aschenauer was the most prolific defender of Nazi war criminals in the post-World War II period. His lengthy career spanned from 1945 until 1981. Aschenauer represented some of the most infamous Nazi war criminals, such as Otto Ohlendorf, Hebert Kappler and Wilhelm Boger. During his trials Aschenauer advocated a completely different version of history; his history was one that argued that post-war trials were vengeful victors justice, while the German people were the primary victims of World War II.
This study ultimately asks what role did justice play in the relationship between the German people and the Nazi past? Also, it looks at why Germany was slow to come to terms with that past. A possible answer to this question posed by this project is, because of men like Aschenauer who consciously tried to undermine the Allied narrative of Nazi criminality. Aschenauer certainly did not operate alone; he was at the center of a vast network, which included German clergy, veterans groups, and radical right political parties. Ultimately, this study is most concerned with the narrative that Aschenauer and his allies attempted to craft concerning World War II.

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