Issue 2/2017

Content Overview: English Titles and Abstracts:

  • Paul Hoser: Thierschstraße 41. Hitler as a Subtenant, his Jewish Landlord and a Matter of Restitution.
  • Sandra Kraft: “If it Serves the Establishment of the Truth”. Anti-Authoritarian Protest in Court circa 1968.
  • Ariane Leendertz: Time Spans, Neoliberalism and the End of the West, Or: How Can We Write the German History of the 20th Century?
  • Contemporary History Podium: Research into the Nazi Era and the Cultural Turn: Frank Bajohr, Neil Gregor, Johann Chapoutot und Stefan Hördler.


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Paul Hoser, Thierschstraße 41. Hitler as a Subtenant, his Jewish Landlord and a Matter of Restitution


At the end of March 1920, Adolf Hitler had to leave the army. He moved from the barracks to Thierschstraße 41, which is situated in the Lehel quarter of Munich. Here he lived as a subtenant. Hugo Erlanger, a Jewish textile salesman, lived in the same house, which he bought in late October 1921. Hitler remained there up until October 1929 when he changed to a more luxurious flat. Hitler often had received guests at Thierschstraße 41, many of whom would later become important leaders in the hierarchy of the Nazi Party. Hitler always treated Erlanger with courtesy. During the time of the Great Depression, Erlanger’s business suffered a severe crisis. He could no longer keep up with the mortgage payments to the municipal savings bank. In September 1934, an auction of the house was enforced. In other circumstances the auction could have been avoided. However, the city was determined to own the house which Hitler had once occupied. After “Reichskristallnacht”, Erlanger was sent to the Dachau concentration camp for four weeks. During the war he had to do forced labour. However, he was not deported due to his wife not being Jewish. After the war the city refused to return his house. Only in 1949 was Erlanger’s house finally returned to him – however Erlanger was obliged to take on the debts of the house, which left him in a difficult situation. This only improved in 1955 when he received compensation in the form of a pension for the loss of his business in 1938.


Sandra Kraft, “If it Serves the Establishment of the Truth”. Anti-Authoritarian Protest in Court circa 1968


One of the most prominent features of the German Student Movement (a.k.a the ‘68-Movement) was its anti-authoritarian self-image. Yet despite many attempted approaches and interpretations, this core characteristic is difficult to pin down. This is not only due to missing or imprecise theoretical deliberations of the protagonists, but also due to the complexity and terminological ambiguity of the term authority. The present article deals with the problem of the theoretical and practical meaning of authority for the Student Movement. Using the concrete example of the criminal proceedings against Fritz Teufel and Rainer Langhans, it shows to what extent the movement’s understanding of authority also shaped the form and content of the confrontation in court. The two activists turned the court room into a political stage with “happenings” and verbal provocations of the judges and prosecutors. The goal was to expose the structures of the West German courts as undemocratic and undermine the authority of its officials. But while the accused were ostensibly seeking out “putrid authority”, they also used the trials to drop their own authoritarian personality structures, therein following an idiosyncratic interpretation of applied critical theory. Authority was to be broken from the outside as well as from the inside.


Ariane Leendertz, Time Spans, Neoliberalism and the End of the West, Or: How Can We Write the German History of the 20th Century?


How can one write the German history of the 20th century? Guided by this key question, Ariane Leendertz discusses the Zeitbögen (time spans) concept introduced by Anselm Doering-Manteuffel in the Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte in 2014 as well as the critique by Peter Hoeres published in the same journal in 2015. On this basis, she outlines new research perspectives for the most recent periods of contemporary history. Her point of departure is Hoeres’ accusation that Doering-Manteuffel’s use of the concept of Westernisation leads to an analytical-normative narrowing which is teleological, anachronistic and hampers insight. Additionally, Hoeres does not see Neoliberalism, which Doering-Manteuffel places at the centre of his third time span, as a suitable interpretive frame for the history of the late 20th century. Against this background and starting off the third time span, the beginning of which Doering-Manteuffel sets in the early 1970s, Ariane Leendertz discusses his concept formation, looks at the normative substance of his interpretation and argues in favour of a stronger consideration of international political economics as well as the history of ideas and political history of Neoliberalism in contemporary history.


Contemporary History Podium, Research into the Nazi Era and the Cultural Turn


With the “Contemporary History Podium”, the Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte introduces a new format for discourse. It is designed to host discussions on fundamental questions of contemporary historiography from multiple points of view. The first Podium is dedicated to the topic “Research into the Nazi Era and the Cultural Turn”. Four recognised experts from three countries, namely Frank Bajohr (Head of the Center for Holocaust Studies at the Institute for Contemporary History Munich – Berlin), Neil Gregor (Professor of Modern European History, University of Southampton), Johann Chapoutot (Professor of German History at the Université Paris-Sorbonne – Paris IV) and Stefan Hördler (Director of the Mittelbau-Dora Concentration Camp Memorial Site) analyse the influence of one of the most important and diverse methodological trends in the humanities on a core area of contemporary history, research into the Nazi era. The debate focuses on the question which new horizons of understanding, but also which limitations culturalism offers in a research field, in which terror, war, and mass murder are of central importance. The debate will be continued with a discussion event at the Institute for Contemporary History in Munich and at the VfZ-Forum of the journal’s homepage.


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