Germany’s Confrontation with the Holocaust in a Global Context': an exhibition hosted by the Department of Modern Languages, March 2015

Posted on 30th March 2015

In March 2015 the Department of Modern Languages hosted the travelling exhibition 'Germany’s Confrontation with the Holocaust in a Global Context'. The exhibition was first launched in Leeds in January 2015, to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day.  It was part of an outreach programme led by the German Department of the University of Leeds, with the South African Holocaust and Genocide Foundation and the UK National Holocaust Centre and Museum.

The exhibition explored Germany's evolving response to the Holocaust and its attempts to come to terms with this shocking epsiode in its history. Displays gave a brief history of the Holocaust, telling stories of those liberated from the camps, as well as those of perpetrators, bystanders and resisters. They examined German post-war silence about the Holocaust and the student protests of the 1960s, when young people demonstrated against the repression of the past. The exhibition also highlighted efforts to achieve a reconciliation with Jewish victims in the late 1960s, and the dramatically expanded memorial landscape in Germany since the 1980s. 

More broadly, the exhibition considered how nations and individuals confront traumatic histories and asked why and how we remember the past., complementing the Area Studies research in the Department of Modern Languages on discourses in post-colonial / post-authoritarian societies. 

Dr Richard Millington, a Lecturer in German at the Department of Modern Languages, who brought the exhibition to the University of Chester, said: “Given the great general interest in the subject, as well as the recent 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, I think many people are interested in looking in more depth at how countries across the world – not just Germany – are attempting to confront traumatic pasts.”