Theaters of Justice: Judging, Staging, and Working through in Arendt, Brecht, and Delbo

By Yasco Horsman | Go to book overview

Notes

INTRODUCTION

1. T. W. Adorno, “Was bedeutet: Aufarbeitung der Vergangenheit?” in Gesammelte Schriften Vol. 10, pt. 2 (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1977), 555–572; “What Does Coming to Terms with the Past Mean?” trans. Geoffrey Hartman and Timothy Bahti, in Bitburg in Moral and Political Perspective, ed. Geoffrey Hartman (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986), 114–129 References to this text will henceforth appear in parentheses in the body of text.

2. Among the many historical studies of Germany’s Vergangenheitsbewältigung, see Kathy Harms, Lutz Reuter, and Volker Dürr, eds., Coping with the Past: Germany and Austria after 1945 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1990); Charles Maier, The Unmasterable Past: History, Holocaust and German National Identity (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988). For psychoanalytic readings of Germany’s coping with the past, see Alexander and Margarete Mitscherlich, Die Unfähigkeit zu trauern: Grundlagen kollektiven Verhaltens (Munich: Piper, 1977 [1967]); Eric Santner, Stranded Objects: Mourning, Memory and Film in Postwar Germany (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1993).

3. Adorno’s question is not merely theoretical. Soon after the war, both the American and the Soviets embarked on a project of “reeducating” the Germans; the project of “democratization” on an institutional level coincided with a project of public education in which the Germans were taught the values of democracy, and—it was hoped—would be reconstituted as a “demos,” a nation ready for democracy. For a brief discussion of the influence on the Allied project of reeducation on the postwar West German intellectual climate, see Anson Rabinbach, “The German as Pariah: Karl Jaspers and the Question of German Guilt,” Radical Philosophy 75 (January 1996), 15–25.

4. When he returns to these questions in 1966, Adorno’s emphasis is slightly different. “The premier demand upon all education is that Auschwitz not happen again.” he writes, “The fact that one is so barely conscious of this demand and the questions it raises shows that the monstrosity has not penetrate people’s minds deeply, itself a symptom of the continuing potential for its recurrence as far as people’s conscious and unconscious is concerned” (Adorno, “Education after

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