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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

GERM3220 Victims and/or Perpetrators? Remembering the Nazi past in Germany

20 creditsClass Size: 18

Module manager: Dr Stephan Petzold

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

Pre-requisite qualifications

Successful completion of GERM2030/2031 or equivalent level of German language (CEFR B2).

This module is mutually exclusive with

GERM2220Victims and/or Perpetrators? Remembering the Nazi past in Ge

Module replaces


This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module examines the different ways in which the legacy and memory of the Nazi past, the Second World War and the Holocaust have shaped Germany since 1945. It investigates how three different German societies - the FRG, the GDR and post-reunification Germany - have dealt with the Nazi past and how they have remembered and forgotten particular aspects of that past. The changing dynamics of German collective memory will be analysed by looking at a variety of expressions and practices, ranging from intellectual debates and political interventions to high and popular culture. Particular emphasis will be placed on the wider significance of remembrance for political and cultural developments in German society in order to understand why the Nazi past continues to play such a crucial role in German culture. This module is taught and assessed in German.


The aims of this module are:
- to examine German memory of the Nazi past and the Holocaust since 1945
- to understand how the meaning of terms such as 'perpetrator', 'victim' and 'bystander' shifted and explain their wider historical relevance
- to explore the links between memory and national identity to explain the controversial nature of German memory
- to analyse a variety of different practices and sites of memory, including film, trial reports, speeches, newspaper articles, photographs, novels, opinion polls
- to use memory as an analytical tool for understanding developments in post-1945 German history more generally

Learning outcomes
On completion of the module, students should be able to:
- demonstrate detailed knowledge of key developments and debates in German collective memory of the Nazi past
- discuss the wider political and cultural significance of collective memory for West Germany, East Germany and unified Germany
- recognise the relationship between German memories of the Nazi past and the construction of German national identities
- analyse different types of primary material and engage with scholarly research
- present complex ideas in spoken and written German

Skills outcomes
- An awareness of the ways in which the present is shaped by memory and how the future is imagined through the past
- a deeper understanding of German culture and identities
- ability to communicate complex ideas in spoken and written German
- ability to analyse a variety of primary material in German


Students will be actively involved in designing the syllabus. In the first three weeks of the module, students will – through the discussion of tutor-assigned and self-directed readings - develop an overview of key concepts as well as the main events and developments in German memory culture. The outcome of these discussions in the first weeks will be a module outline with weekly topics agreed by students and tutor.
It is likely that the first semester will examine key events and processes in German collective memory between 1945 and 1990, while the second semester is likely to focus more on developments and controversies in unified Germany.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours170.00
Total Contact hours30.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

- reading and reflection in preparation for seminars
- researching, preparing and writing assessed work
- self-directed reading around the topic

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Feedback on contributions to seminar discussions
- Feedback on an essay plan
- Feedback on group project proposal

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2000 words50.00
Group ProjectPublic engagement project (e.g. mini exhibition or website), plus 1000-word academic rationale50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 24/04/2018


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