By Rudy Koshar
Transient Pasts is the first book to examine the role that the historic preservation movement has played in German cultural history and memory from the end of the nineteenth century to the early 1970s.
Focusing on key public debates over historic preservation, Rudy Koshar charts a trajectory of cultural politics in which historical architecture both facilitated and limited Germans' efforts to identify as a nation. He demonstrates that historical buildings and monuments have served as enduring symbols of national history in a country scarred by the traumas of two world wars, Nazism, the Holocaust, and political division. His findings challenge both the widely accepted argument that Germans have constantly repressed their past and the contention that Germany's intense public engagement with history since reunification is unprecedented.
- Chapel Hill, NC