In Germany, however, Holocaust documentaries have been criticized for eliciting unintended, adverse reactions among the viewers, such as distancing from the victims or calling for closing the books on the past.
Before the Holocaust: Historical Anti-Semitism & Hitler’s Rise to Power
This criticism stems from the concern that such reactions pose an obstacle to critical-constructive engagement and coming to terms with history. This study examines the interplay between cinematic representation of the Holocaust, film-induced defensive strategies, and group-based emotions of shame. The results reveal the complexity of film-portrayals which can foster as well as hinder group-based shame and thus, a constructive dealing with past injustice.
Keywords: group-based shame, Holocaust, defensiveness strategies, TV-documentaries, content analysis, film-effects. Die vorgestellte Studie untersucht das Zusammenspiel zwischen unterschiedlichen filmischen Darstellungsformen des Holocaust, durch diese hervorgerufene Abwehrmechanismen und gruppenbasierte Formen von Scham. E-mail: kopf-beck psych. The number of Holocaust survivors is constantly decreasing. The media engagement covers a broad spectrum ranging from the refusal of some filmmakers to even consider the Holocaust as a past event with a definite conclusion Lanzmann, , p.
Thus, strongly conflicting phenomena can be observed: intensified historical engagement with the Holocaust in films and on television on the one hand, and a rejection of engagement by many recipients on the other hand. This raises the question as to how TV-documentaries influence different forms of dealing with the Holocaust and emotional reactions in response to the issue.
Of particular interest are the effects of these cinematic testimonials on the third post-war generation in Germany, as they represent a significant source of information about the history of their country. This current field study aims to examine the effects of cinematic Holocaust representations broadcasted in Germany. It tests to what extent these representations provide the ground for different dysfunctional coping strategies among the third post-war generation in Germany, and in what way they affect emotional responses.
Starting from the critique of the influencing mechanisms of specific films and TV documentaries, the current study is carried out in two major steps. In a preliminary study, the real-life stimuli are content analyzed. In the main study, based on the content analysis, we test specific hypotheses in a quasi-experimental field-study investigating how certain approaches to portray the Holocaust influence film-induced ways of dealing with it and group-based shame.
It represented the first fictional accounting, which was watched by a mass audience and harshly criticized for trivializing and emotionalizing history Hickethier, Ever since, cinematic representations of the Holocaust have been objects of public discourse and often blamed for producing non-intended adverse responses, and thus hindering constructive engagement with history.
These concerns have arisen both in regards to the portrayal of the victims and the perpetrators. In terms of the victims, Loose rejected the use of historical pictorial material of the Holocaust to create a sense of authenticity, because the presentation of anti-Semitic stereotypes in National Socialist propaganda videos could reproduce prejudice in viewers. Brink and Krings similarly argued that graphic representations of Holocaust victims e. They were more likely to do this than those who had identified with the Nazis but had not seen the series, and also more likely to do so than those who identified with the Jewish victims.
Public debates on how to deal with the Nazi past reappear in Germany at regular intervals. According to this critique, the film belittles the role of the average citizen in the rise and continued existence of the Third Reich. As a consequence, such films follow a perpetrator narrative to a certain extent. Such perspectives submit that films can create an understanding, closeness, and implicit justification for the behavior of the perpetrator side, which is opposed to a reconciliation-oriented approach to dealing with the national past.
The aforementioned refusal to deal with the Holocaust at all Heyder et al. The Walser debate in was one of the most prominent instances see Funke, of such a refusal to deal with the Holocaust. The well-known writer and public person Martin Walser called for shifting the remembrance of the Holocaust to the private sphere. This displacement from the public was harshly criticized. The central accusation was that Walser would personalize and privatize the systematic failure of the political system and society in Germany in the s.
This accusation was also voiced against Holocaust documentaries produced by Guido Knopp. In his TV documentaries, Knopp strongly relied on eyewitnesses and their emotionalized portrayals to illustrate individualized suffering. Nevertheless, he was also criticized for the fact that such an individualization of history would neglect the political circumstances that generated this suffering Breuer, With such neglect, the relevance of the past for current generations would be ignored, which again might indirectly facilitate the demand to close the books on the past.
Past research revealed the emergence of group-based emotions such as shame, guilt or regret in various countries and referring to different cases of historical injustices Brown et al. Referring to the Holocaust in particular, Peetz et al. Imhoff et al. Rees, Allpress, and Brown investigated the consequences of different forms of group-based shame on intergroup-attitudes that are not directly related to the Holocaust. These findings suggest that group membership and identity are the basic preconditions for the appearance of group-based emotions in general, and the ways in which media engagement with Holocaust exerts influence among contemporary Germans in particular.
If individuals are exposed to information on perceived moral transgressions and ascribe it to their in-group, this can threaten the moral image of their group Branscombe et al. As the short summary of the most relevant research on emotions in the context of the Holocaust shows, shame and guilt can be considered as the most prominent forms of emotional responses. Shame is linked with the perception of a global worthlessness Rees et al. Thus, shame is more closely associated with social relations.
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Therefore, they were in the focus of the current research. In order to reduce self-relevant threat and immediately associated emotions of shame Brown et al. They show avoidance or distancing from the involved protagonists and the threatening events themselves or other forms of defensiveness Iyer et al. Former research on group-based emotions in the context of the Holocaust mainly used artificial stimulus material or vignettes Imhoff et al. In contrast, this study focused on the influences of real-life stimuli, TV-documentaries and films which were actually broadcasted and critically discussed in Germany.
For this approach, we specified defensiveness strategies following the criticism mentioned above. Referring to the victim side and derived from the critique by Loose , Brink , and Krings , we identified 1 film-induced distancing from victims as one strategy to reduce group-based emotions of shame. The work by Hormuth and Stephan suggests that 2 film-induced victim blaming might be another possible reaction against threatening information of Holocaust-documentaries for German recipients.
Therefore, it was assumed as a further defensiveness strategy. Referring to the perpetrator side, we assumed that 3 film-induced closeness to the perpetrators through a perpetrator perspective on the historical events see the criticism by Breuer, would inhibit or prevent image threat and group-based shame. Based on the findings by Heyder et al. Thus, assuming that complex real-life stimuli about the Holocaust do not result in simple shame reactions, but rather in multilayered responses, this research addresses the following questions: a how certain Holocaust portrayals offer the basis for different defense strategies and ways of dealing with the issue and b how these again hinder or facilitate the emergence of film-induced group-based shame.
In line with the criticism mentioned above, we argue that the use of defensiveness strategies is contingent on film contents and thus a film-initiated process. Therefore, we hypothesize that film effects on shame are mediated by film-induced defense strategies. Due to the complexity of the selected film material in this study, a detailed content analysis of relevant aspects for the emergence of certain defense strategies and group-based emotions is required before formulating hypotheses about film effects.
The current study was carried out in two major steps. In a preliminary study, all film sequences we used in the main study were content analyzed for the absence or presence of relevant content aspects in order to predict effects of the film clips on film-induced defense strategies and film-induced group-based shame. Thus, the initial content analysis represents the basis for formulating hypotheses for the main study, in which we tested the hypothesized indirect effects on film-induced group-based shame through the mediator variables film-induced distancing from victims , film-induced closeness to perpetrators , film-induced blaming the victims , and film-induced rejection of the relevance of the Holocaust.
The film clips used in this study were chosen because they were broadcasted countrywide and illustrate different ways of portraying the Holocaust. Therefore, they should represent an externally valid selection of cinematic true-to-life stimuli. Even though they are more complex and multilayered than artificially produced experimental stimuli, they can be characterized by certain core features.
We examined the selected film excerpts for key aspects in order to better understand the influencing mechanisms that the single film clips use to arouse threats to the image of the German national identity and offer connecting points for specific film-induced defense strategies to reduce image threat and thus, group-based shame : 1 film-induced distancing from victims, 2 film-induced blaming of the victims, 3 film-induced closeness to perpetrators, and 4 film-induced rejection of the relevance of the Holocaust.
For this purpose, a coding manual was developed using a theory-based approach Kempf, ; Mayring, In contrast to a material-based approach, the development of the coding categories in the current research was based on theoretical criticism of certain strategies of portraying the Holocaust voiced in the literature by Loose , Brink , and Krings ; see Breuer, , on empirical findings Heyder et al.
This deductive strategy offered the opportunity to narrow down the complexity of the film stimuli to the relevant contents and variables without loosing pertinent information. The latter was expected to reduce the level of potential identification and a devaluation of the German side. Regarding factors that might affect the perceived relevance of the Holocaust for current Germany, we identified and coded for the use of foreign languages CAV12 , a foreign film setting CAV13 , and the usage of historical footage CAV Two raters male and female were trained in using the manual.
The film excerpts were divided into scenes and the raters independently coded the presence or absence of each category in each scene three films per rater. For a detailed presentation of the coding categories, examples, explanations and their frequency of appearance see Table 1. Percentages refer to the total amount of scenes of a film. Chi 2 -tests revealed a significant relation of all CAVs and the excerpts see Table 1. For a more detailed description of the development of the coding manual and definition of the coding categories see Kopf-Beck The six film excerpts were taken from previously released films or TV documentaries, in order to secure true-to-life stimulus material.
The selection of the excerpts see Table 2 was intended to cover the broadest possible spectrum of representational strategies Dengler, The excerpts vary with regard to their stimulus qualities, which are relevant not only for the arousal of group-based shame, but also for the possibilities of connecting different defense strategies. In the following, we briefly introduce the excerpts based on the results of the detailed content analysis and label them according to their main features. For a more detailed description of the film excerpts see Kopf-Beck The film excerpt Ghetto belongs to the genre of docutainment Dengler, The unique characteristic of the film is the use of historical, pictorial material from National Socialist sources, among others from the anti-Semitic propaganda film Der ewige Jude [The eternal Jew] Hippler, Ghetto is marked by a focus on the victims, who are partly portrayed from the National Socialist perspective percentage of historical footage [CAV14]: In contrast, German perpetrators were presented in an individualized CAV8: CAV2: The historical insertions alternate with interviews of Holocaust victims and perpetrators.
Only Befreiung makes use of historical film clips from Allied sources. In this excerpt, the Jewish suffering is omnipresent CAV2: The excerpt is characterized by its portrayal of an exclusive and generalizing victimization of Jewish life CAV5: Similar to the excerpt Ghetto, the clip uses music, speakers and a suitable choice of eyewitnesses and depicts an emotionally evocative form of representation.
This gives the perpetrator side much room for attempts to explain what happened from their viewpoint and to voice self-justifications, such as the externalization of responsibility to the societal elites or the political system. Despite some parallelisms, the excerpt Befreiung can be differentiated from Ghetto by the dispensation of stereotypes, the additional focus on Germans as victims from a post-war perspective and a higher relevance for current Germany because of the clear link to a within-Germany setting see CAV13 in Table 1.
The excerpt Free Fall. Thereby, the images in the excerpt focus exclusively on the Jewish side and their victim role CAV5: The pictures contrast with readings of anti-Jewish legislation from Hungary in the early s. It describes the completion of the disenfranchisement process that ends in the expulsion and destruction of the Jewish population of Hungary. In addition to a geographical and cultural distance through setting and language, the film stresses the temporal distance to current Germany by the exclusive use of historical footage see CAV14 in Table 1.
With its extended interview sequences, not held in German, Shoah hardly accommodates the viewing habits of the young study participants and attenuates the relevance for current Germany. The unique characteristic of this film excerpt is the eschewal of any historical pictorial footage CAV 0. It addresses the complicity in and active support of the Holocaust by ordinary Germans using historical documents and expert witness testimony.
This evidence is contrasted with contemporary interviews at the original sites of the events with German residents who deny the connivance or refuse to seriously engage with the past. Thus, especially the perpetrator side CAV6: One of the main characteristics of this film excerpt is its confrontational character: Self-serving excuses are systematically deconstructed, and in this manner, National Socialism and the destruction of the Jews are made more comprehensible as mass phenomena. Because of its comparatively rare use of historical footage CAV Nevertheless, since this first part of Free Fall describes the start of the gradual disenfranchisement of the Jews, the portrayed suffering is less extensive and the Holocaust itself less clearly present than in all the other film excerpts CAV2: Therefore, this first part of Free Fall was used as a cinematic reference condition for the other five experimental groups, because it most closely corresponded to a classical control condition no treatment , without completely detaching itself from the issue i.
The following development of hypotheses regarding the tested model is based on the content analysis of the film material. We derived hypotheses about the effects of film excerpts on film-induced group-based shame and film-induced defense strategies from the frequency distribution of the single coding categories. Since the major research focus of the current study is the effect of the broadcasted real-life stimuli in their entire complexity, we formulated hypotheses regarding the full film-excerpts.
According to Lickel et al. For the Holocaust, this further depends on the extent to which viewers hold the German population accountable for the historical events and experience the events as unjust. The more clearly responsibility and injustice are marked in the excerpts, the more likely is the occurrence of film-induced group-based shame among the audience.
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The level of attribution of responsibility for past injustices induced by the films should be greater if Germans are shown in the various films frequently CAV6 and function in a perpetrator or accomplice role CAV7. A role as a victim or resistance fighter, for example, should reduce this ascription of responsibility. The perceived injustice of the event should, in the case of a high degree of portrayed Jewish suffering CAV2 , rise with the increased objectivation of the perpetrators CAV11 and humanization of the Jewish victims CAV4.
Considering all these aspects together, we expected a direct shame-inducing effect of the film clip contemporary relevance Panorama only H1. The results of the content analysis of all six film clips were used to develop hypotheses on the effects of the single excerpts on the different film-induced defense strategies. Two of them refer to the victim side distancing from victims and blaming the victims , one to the perpetrator side closeness , and one to the contemporary relevance of the Holocaust rejection of relevance.
We assumed a low level of film-induced distancing from the Jewish victim side , if the film excerpt contained a high degree of individualization CAV3 and humanization CAV4 of victims Bandura, , and a low degree of victimization of the Jews CAV5 or dramatic portrayals of Jewish suffering CAV2; see also Brink, , and devaluation through the non-contextualized use of anti-Semitic stereotypes CAV1 in historical film material see Loose, These four elements appear more extensively in the film excerpts emotionalized closeness to victims and perpetrators Befreiung , individualized victims in historical footage Free Fall , and non-historical footage Shoah.
Therefore, we assumed a low level of film-induced distancing from victims among the recipients of these three film clips H2a. Blaming the victims of an injustice represents one strategy in the process of moral disengagement Bandura, Such disengagement from moral standards can be justified by otherness, inferiority of the victim side, and a lack of resistance against the perpetrator side. If a film used representational strategies that facilitated the devaluation of the Jewish victims through a lack of humanization CAV4; see Bandura, , dehumanization through victimization CAV5; Brink, and the presentation of non-contextualized stereotypes CAV1; Loose, , we assumed a positive heightening effect on blaming the victim tendencies.
The results of the content analysis indicate a positive effect on film-induced blaming the victims of the clip featured by historical stereotypes Ghetto ; H3a. Analogous to the victim side, there are many ways in which closeness to the perpetrator side can be constructed in films. Deduced from the content analysis, we presumed such an effect for the clip emotionalized closeness to victims and perpetrators Befreiung; H4a. The rejection of the relevance of the Holocaust for contemporary Germany represents a form of distancing from the events.
Based on these assumptions, we expected a positive effect of the excerpts featured by individualized victims historical footage; Free Fall and a negative effect of the clip featured by contemporary relevance Panorama H5a. For an overview of all hypothesized effects of film-clips on film-induced defense strategies, see Table 3. Distancing strategies are expressed in the escape from or avoidance of situations which might evoke the threat- and shame-inducing event Brown et al. For the following four film-induced defense strategies we assumed a shame-reduction. We defined distancing from the victims as the rejection of compassion, sympathy and understanding for Jewish Holocaust victims.
Experiencing the injustice of the Holocaust as less serious serves to reduce image threat, thereby also mitigating group-based shame Hypothesis H2b. Claiming that victims are themselves to blame for their persecution is a strategy in the process of moral disengagement Bandura, Moral disengagement justifies in-group behavior by circumventing moral standards.
Similar to distancing from the victims, it reduces the moral failure. The intended effect of victim blaming is reduced image threat and therefore a lower level of group-based shame H3b. Analogous to the victim side, closeness to the perpetrators is operationalized as the compassion, sympathy and understanding for the German side. Thus, we hypothesized that closeness to the perpetrators predicts a lower level of film-induced group-based shame H4b.
The demand to close the books on history, often voiced in Germany Heyder et al. The more vigorously the relevance of the Holocaust is rejected, the less group-based shame should be experienced Peetz et al. In the main study, we tested if the film excerpts have indirect effects on film-induced group-based shame through the mediator variables film-induced distancing from victims , film-induced closeness to perpetrators , film-induced blaming the victims , and film-induced rejection of the relevance of the Holocaust.
For this segment of the population, Holocaust engagement can be assumed to occur primarily through media or in a school context. In order to answer the research question on emotional reactions, we selected a quasi-experimental design in the frame of secondary school instruction in German and History classes as the most true-to-life setting. Data was collected at two time points. Six school classes 9 th and 10 th grade from each state were randomly assigned to one of the six film sequences. In this way, the individual participants were not artificially separated i.
Initially, the pupils filled in a pre-test questionnaire. Three weeks later, in the classroom group, they watched one of six film excerpts on the Holocaust and immediately afterwards completed a post-test questionnaire. We obtained written declarations of informed consent from the legal guardians, as well as from the pupils themselves.
The participants did not receive any kind of compensation or reward. The post-test questionnaire captured items on four different film-induced defense strategies and film-induced group-based shame. Due to film-specificity, it was not possible to use pre-formulated items. As can be seen from the items, the defense strategies 1 film-induced distancing from victims and 3 film-induced closeness to perpetrators describe the two poles of one dimension of an emotional relation emotional distancing vs.
For reasons of readability, the defense strategies were reverse-coded and labeled according to their hypothesized effects on group-based shame see below.
The Holocaust: Responding to Modern Suffering
For detailed descriptions of the post-test measures and their distribution between film sequences see Table A1 in the Appendix. According to our theoretical framework, all participants eligible for this study should hold German citizenship and should identify with being German at least to a minimum extent Mackie et al.
Because of lack of identification with Germany or incomplete questionnaires, 34 participants were excluded from the analysis, so that the final sample consisted of individuals. Thirty-two participants watched the control scenario Free Fall 1. Therefore, power analysis was conducted setting the alpha error at. Calculations were performed using GPower 3. The participants in the different experimental conditions did not differ across conditions in regard to their origin Thuringia vs. Intercorrelations of all measures are reported in Table 4.
The starting point for testing the mediator hypotheses was modeling the total effect of the film conditions on the extent of perceived collective shame see Table A2 in the Appendix. The data analysis revealed significant indirect effects of the film scenarios featured by emotionalized closeness to victims and perpetrators Befreiung , individualized victims on historical footage Free Fall 2 , and contemporary relevance Panorama through defense strategies on film-induced group-based shame.
All models regressing the strategies to the control variables and film excerpts reached significance. The significant path coefficients are shown in Figure 1. The participants who watched this film excerpt perceived less group-base shame due to their greater perceived emotional proximity and sympathy towards, as well as understanding of the members of their national in-group. Thus, recipients of this clip were confronted with film-induced closeness to different protagonists of the Holocaust, while the direction of the mediation effects in terms of group-based shame were contrary to each other.
Thus, hypothesis H5a was confirmed. Nevertheless, not all hypotheses about film effects were confirmed. The interplay between historical injustice and group-based emotions, and the ways of coping with such emotions, are of a complex nature. The present study aimed to investigate influential mechanisms of cinematic representations of the Holocaust in the third German post-war generation and disentangle their ambivalent effects on reconciliation processes. We postulated specific ways in which media presentation affects group-based shame, and examined the mediating influence of various film-induced defense strategies on this emotion.
We selected a quasi-experimental design and used films previously broadcasted on German television in order to assure the external validity of our findings. Thus, the current research was oriented towards the reality of the teaching and knowledge transfer about the history by the German media and schools as it takes place about 75 years after the Holocaust and the Second World War.
This effect, which was evoked by drastic footage from concentration camps and interviews with contemporary witnesses in the clip Befreiung , was mediated by less distancing of the German recipients from the Jewish victims. This could be ascribed to the fact that the German audience developed more compassion, sympathy, and understanding for the Jewish side, and thus reported a higher level of film-induced group-based shame.
The criticism by Brink and Krings , according to which a drastic and dehumanizing portrayal of victims would result in increased distance between viewers and the victim group, could not be completely disconfirmed because of the complexity of the real life stimuli we used. The rather demanding excerpts with an individualized victim focus Free Fall and Shoah , which visualized the suffering in a less striking and more abstract way, were not able to do so. We found neither a direct effect of the clip historical stereotypes on victim blaming or distancing nor an indirect effect on film-induced shame.
The missing effect of victim blaming on group-based shame might be ascribed to the special context of the Holocaust. The narrative of the Holocaust offers a clear assignment of perpetrator and victim roles, which made a perpetrator-victim reversal less likely in comparison to other, more complex cases of historical injustice. From a theoretical perspective, the results showed that formal criteria of the excerpts we used, such as historical footage, language etc. The reason for this might be the greater social distance between the recipients on the one hand and the victim out-group on the other hand.
In contrast to these rather distal factors concerning the victims, that is the out-group , the more proximal factors portraying the perpetrator in-group and perceived relevance had a stronger impact on the development of film-induced group-based shame. In particular, the emotionalized way of portraying the perpetrator side in the Holocaust established emotional closeness to the perpetrators compassion, sympathy, and understanding , which again had a strong shame-reducing effect.
This strategy of parallelization Befreiung lowered the severity of the moral failure through a partly victim status of the German side see Table 1 , that is through externalizing the responsibility of the individual German to social elites and the political system. Thus, it decreased the necessity to be ashamed for the historical injustice. Beside the emotional closeness to the perpetrators, the subjectively perceived relevance of the Holocaust had the strongest shame-reducing impact on group-based shame see path 4b in Figure 1.
Thus, the clip systematically deconstructed the self-serving claims of eyewitnesses and made National Socialism and the destruction of the Jews understandable as a mass phenomenon. By making clear references to contemporary Germany, the clip lowered the opportunity to downplay the relevance of the Holocaust for today and thus had a shame-enhancing effect. The most important contribution of this study, the use of specific real-life stimuli, simultaneously represents its most important limitation.
It refers to its focus on particular films, the mediation of film-induced ways to deal with the Holocaust and the effects of both on film-induced shame. Thus, the operationalization of all measured constructs was clearly linked to the particular filmic real-life stimuli. This strategy on the one hand offered the advantage of precisely answering narrowly defined research questions about the mechanisms of certain Holocaust documentaries, but on the other hand limited a more general measurement of subjectively experienced shame.
For interpreting the cinematic effects of Holocaust films, it should be taken into consideration that in this study the effects of the different films were set in relationship to a non-neutral reference category, the excerpt Free Fall 1. It is possible that in light of a clearly negative German discourse on the Holocaust, cinematic representations evoke very uniform media effects and make prior knowledge available that overlay weaker film-specific effects and make it harder to identify them.
Thus, our strategy represented a rather conservative approach. It could be extended in future research by testing film-effects more sensitively against a neutral category that is free of content regarding the Holocaust. This strategy would make a broader conceptualization of group-based shame necessary, which would be less closely linked to certain film excerpts.
Items that focus more on subjectively experienced shame see above and are less associated with specific films allow not just further generalization of the findings. Additionally, they aim more toward the individual recipients rather than cinematic intentions as the current shame-items might suggest, and therefore they might reveal different findings.
Such a wider understanding of group-based shame would additionally offer the opportunity to measure long-term effects of films on emotions of shame and complement the results of the current study on immediate responses, and would allow for pre-testing these emotions. In the present study, it was not possible to pretest the items before watching the films due to their specific reference to films. Real-life film clips comprise complex sets of stimuli and thus come with a higher risk of missing relevant variables compared to artificially created stimuli for lab settings.
This can threaten the internal validity of the postulated relationships. While this study cannot rule out with certainty that the observed effects are not partly triggered by not analyzed aspects of the films, the theory-based selection of the content analytical variables, the deductive approach using a well-elaborated coding procedure, and the high intercoder reliability should alleviate this threat.
Besides considering long-term effects and a content free category of reference, future research should integrate further developments in the field such as the differentiation of different forms of moral shame and image shame Allpress et al. The distinction between victim- and perpetrator-focused ways of dealing with past injustice might reveal interesting differences in specific facets of these emotions. In order to validate the results of the current study, the research question should be applied to another case of historical injustice.
The Holocaust implies specific and unique characteristics such as the discourse in current Germany, which for example affect victim-blaming or a perpetrator-victim reversal. The generalizability of the findings should be verified in different contexts which are debated more controversially in the public. In sum, in the specific case of the debate about the Holocaust, this study was able to show the effects of influencing mechanisms of the cinematic stimulus qualities on different ways of dealing with the issue and their partly mediating effects on group-based shame.
The partly counter-intended effects regarding film-induced emotions point out the great significance of which portraying strategies are chosen in the media, especially of the perpetrator in-group. The study closes a gap in our knowledge about the influencing mechanisms of history transmission by the media, which is gaining in importance with the increasing temporal distance from the historical events.
Nevertheless, we evaluated this effect, controlling for gender and age. In both models, the extent of shame was lower when the participants identified more strongly with Germany, as postulated by Lickel et al. These findings are further in line with Doosje et al. Due to its clear and one-sided division into perpetrators and victims, probably the singularity of the Holocaust is only to a limited extent suitable for testing the moderating function of national identification.
For details see Table A3 in Appendix. Special thanks to Wilhelm Kempf for reading prior versions of this paper and helpful support. Aguiar, P. Justice in our world and in that of others: Belief in a just world and reactions to victims. Social Justice Research, 21 , Allpress, J.
Two faces of group-based shame: Moral shame and image shame differentially predict positive and negative orientations to ingroup wrongdoing. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40 , Bandura, A. Moral disengagement in the perception of inhumanities. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 3 , Bergmann, W. Antisemitismus in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland: Ergebnisse der empirischen Forschung von [Anti-Semitism in the German Federal Republic: Results of empirical research between ].
Branscombe, N. The context and content of social identity threat. Ellemers, R. Doosje Eds. Oxford, United Kingdom: Blackwell. Breuer, L. Wiesbaden, Germany: Springer. Brink, C. Bilder vom Feind. Kramer Ed. Munich, Germany: Richard Boorberg. Brown, R. Dealing with the past and facing the future: Mediators of the effects of collective guilt and shame in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
European Journal of Social Psychology, 38 , Nuestra culpa: Collective guilt and shame as predictors of reparation for historical wrongdoing. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94 , Cerin, E. A commentary on current practice in mediating variable analyses in behavioural nutrition and physical activity. Public Health Nutrition, 12 , Cohen, J. A coefficient of agreement for nominal scales. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 20 , A power primer. Psychological Bulletin, 1 , Dengler, S. Kursorische Bildanalysen und Konzeption einer empirischen Befragung [Ways of reception of documentary films of the Holocaust: Cursory image analyses and conception of an empirical study].
Berlin, Germany: regener. Ditlmann, R. Heritage- and ideology-based national identities and their implications for immigrant citizen relations in the United States and in Germany. Wassermann, one of the greatest German authors at the turn of the century, was attached to both the German and the Jewish worlds and was torn between them. Lamentably, the situation today is such that a Jew is a vogelfrei. In my own country, the Jews are usually liked.
They are known to be loyal patriots, they are known to lead dignified private lives, they are appreciated as an aristocracy of sorts. What do the Germans want? I had to answer him: They want a scapegoat. Whenever their situation sinks to a nadir, after any defeat, in view of any distress and inclemency, they hold the Jews responsible for their discomfiture. The French scholar Edmond Vermeil called on German genealogy in search of support for the modern version of German nationalism.
These and other perceptions—which, although one-sided, are not divorced from historical reality--evolved in the wake of the horrific devastation and tragedy that the Germans had wrought. It is customary nowadays to regard this wave of postwar writing as a manifestation of the shock and incrimination that destroyed much of the sobriety and discretion that systematic academic work requires.
However, there is the distinct impression that the effect of dynamic political changes— including the Cold War, the economic revitalization of Germany, and the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Soviet Bloc—has turned quite a few observers in the opposite direction. This includes revolts and massacres perpetrated in the course of national conflicts and power struggles since Comprehensive research and public interest in the Holocaust began belatedly around the world.
Holocaust research advanced in Israel, Germany, and the United States, and many research and memorial institutes came into being. The Holocaust gradually became an indicator and an integral component of contemporary human consciousness. Today it is a subject of study in many education systems, in universities in many countries, and in a variety of scholarly disciplines; it is a recurrent motif in the arts; and it persists as a topic that surfaces irrepressibly on our political agenda in various contexts, refusing to retreat to the cloister of history books. This notion, which undoubtedly contributed much to our understanding of the structure and performance of the regime within Germany itself, showed little success in its attempts to confront these phenomena in the occupied countries and the venues of the Holocaust.
Thus, they are increasingly being seen as more of an intellectual exercise than a research endeavor. Nor does Nolte flinch from citing Jews and their ostensible actions as real factors in attracting the rage of Hitler and the Nazis. Others headed in different directions. In the post-World War II era, most venues of mass killing have been in backward states that lacked national and economic stability.
Although the drafts of such plans discovered by Aly and Heim are of much interest, there is no proof that ruling officials in occupied Poland adopted them as practical guidelines. Theories and hypotheses of these types, including others not mentioned here, have the unifying effect—whether or not the various authors have it in mind— of rationalizing the Holocaust and integrating it into existing and comprehensible human processes.
Even the discoveries of National Socialist anthropology are not to any great extent incorporated into the body of National Socialist philosophy, which merely speaks of Aryan races or of Nordic and Germanic superiority. Instead of refuting the racial theory, we shall try to understand its social, political, and cultural significance.
The attempt has already been made. Scholars have drawn attention to the intimate connection between racism and the persecution of minorities, that characterized the Inquisition, the Albigensian crusade, and the campaign against the French Huguenots, and have interpreted race persecution as a modern form of religious intolerance and heresy-hunting. One should not infer from this that our inability to understand fully the hidden facet of the human psyche excuses tyrants, their partners, and their fellow-travelers of liability for their web of perversions and crimes.
Each of us presumably harbors criminal urges and brings such ideas to the surface in moments of weakness, but guilt belongs only to those who cross the line into criminality. Although he carries this thesis to great length, his book is nevertheless welcome because it will prompt new debates and research on an issue that may justly be considered the most horrific and least understood event in the present century.
The serious Hamburg weekly Die Zeit , early on opened its pages to an extensive series of articles for a debate in which many researchers in Germany and elsewhere were prompted to take part. Concurrently, the controversy spread throughout the daily and periodical print media and gave rise to extensive involvement of public opinion. As stated, the book was first generally treated to emotive rejection and almost unequivocal angry opposition.
But the unexpected response that signaled the impending change in public opinion came from ordinary readers and viewers, especially young Germans.
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During his visit to Germany, Goldhagen strove to elucidate multivalent terms in his book in a moderated and detailed manner—without retreating from his basic premises—and his even-handed and topical presentations left a favorable impression. Moreover, they contrasted sharply with the uncompromising denunciations that were expressed by many of his wellknown rivals. A large audience of critics and onlookers, young Germans above all, sided with him in these public appearances.
Goldhagen managed to move something. It is more reasonable to maintain that the Goldhagen affair strongly resembles, on a broad public level, the surprising shock that swept Germany after the American television series Holocaust was broadcast in The late German historian, Martin Broszat, explains:. All of them had dared thus far, if at all, to confront the especially grave issue of the fate of the Jews during the Hitler era with extreme caution and cold practicality.
Many may now have confronted it for the first time in their lives.
Of course, a series of broadcasts that illuminates in bold colors the terror and disaster that the German Nazi regime wrought upon individuals and families hardly resembles an academic tome that seeks to plumb the roots of these events and trace the behavior of simple folk who turned into murderers. However, both cases caused a great many Germans to discover powerfully, and evidently for the first time, that the anti-Semitism that had pervaded their country played a major if not a decisive role in engendering an immeasurably horrific catastrophe.
For generations anti-Semitism had been a consistent element in the religious and socio-cultural consciousness of the Germans. The antiJewish fundamental became more influential after modern German nationalism coalesced in the early nineteenth century and in the second half of that century, because the traditional hostility merged with the increasingly assimilated racial doctrine. It evolved into a general ideological and political pattern that preached the banishment of the Jews as a way to solve the irksome problem that Jews represented for Germany.
Jews were identified with and deemed emblematic of everything that departed from sound order. This imagery marks a departure from the Christian anti-Jewish perception of the Middle Ages. The modern German anti-Semites, unlike their medieval precursors, adduced that peace on earth could not be attained unless the Jews were eliminated.
As long as this type of anti-Semitism represented a potential threat only, the Jews served as objects of insult, threat, and discrimination in certain segments of society, but their physical security was not at risk. The turnabout that released the pent-up tension occurred with the accession of a radical party regime, that of Nazism, which adopted anti-Jewish racism as its ideological basis and operational policy. The question is whether this picture of the pervasive anti-Semitism in Germany reflects the entire reality.
Does it not overstate the extent and depth of the anti-Jewish sentiment? Our basic knowledge about nineteenth-century Germany Jewry shows that the emancipation of the Jews, including granting them equal rights, had many supporters. This gallery represents the zenith of a large population of business and economic entrepreneurs, writers, artists, scholars, and other public figures who attained honor and success in Germany.
Germany was also the cradle of modern Jewish scholarship Wissenschaft des Judentums , which sought to convey Jewish heritage to new generations in a critical, scientific garb. East European Jews perceived Germany as a place where Jews had attained civil stature, high education, and substantial well-being.
It is also well known that German Jews, whose numbers included agents of ferment, activists, and reformers, were usually noted for patriotic loyalty to their country and strong affinity for the German language and cultural world. The intermarriage rate of Jews in Germany climbed to 17 percent of all Jewish marriages in the early twentieth century, Almost all the offspring of these mixed families were divorced from their Jewishness and any sense of Jewish affiliation. Prevalent demographic factors among German Jewry, such as a high proportion of elderly, large-scale emigration in the mid-nineteenth century only partially offset by an influx of Jews from Eastern Europe , and low fertility rates caused the Jewish collective to dwindle both in relative terms from 0.
Doomsayers expected German Jewry to decline and assimilate totally into the general population within the foreseeable future. I believe it is important to touch upon these facts because they contain an element that clashes with the generalized, unified view of anti-Semitism. It represents a new phase in hatred of Jews, a marriage of political anti-Semitism with racism. This hallucinatory perspective was an effective instrument in the hands of the anti-Jewish movement. Since the new European Jew had adopted the language, culture, and behavioral patterns of the population at large, his opponents needed markers that would transfer his ostensibly objectionable essence from overt manifestations to subliminal, inscrutable ones rooted in biology.
In other words, it ballooned from an internal Jewish problem to a national and universal one. Such a solution must lead to the removal of the Jews from the national territory, and, where a continental or global solution is being sought, the solutions should by right be much more radical and severe. Jew-hatred was indeed an entrenched component of the German consciousness, and the impact of the racial motif, first adopted in small circles, radiated along various paths to the public at large.
Eleonore Sterling, in her book on hatred of the Jews Judenhass and the beginnings of political anti-Semitism in Germany in , analyzes the contrast between the Jews and their surroundings, in view of the socioeconomic problem of the time, in which Christian theological motives were still prevalent:. They identified the extinction of the Jews with the general eradication of distress, with world redemption, and with the deliverance of Germany.
The idea of extermination surfaced pervasively: the talk was of exterminating Judaism, not the Jews. In , the German social researcher Hans-Ulrich Wehler called attention to an attitude that, he asserts, typified the racial and political anti-Semites who preceded Hitler:. The new racial-political anti-Semitism of the posts era led explicitly and rather quickly to extermination. Some note that enmity toward Jews was overt, endemic, and socially pervasive in countries such as Russia, Rumania, and Poland, and of course they are right.
This anti-Semitism, sometimes ignited by social contrasts and economic difficulties, was fanned by stimuli and incitement into disturbances and pogroms. After World War I, the civil and juridical equality that Jews and other minorities had been given in Central and Western Europe applied only formally in the eastern part of the continent. In many respects, it was not applied at all, as the ruling authorities sought and found ways to circumvent its implementation.
In the inter-war period, especially in the s—to no small extent under the influence of German Nazism—anti-Semitism in Rumania, Poland, and Hungary developments in the Soviet Union during that time are a separate issue lurched onto a path of intensive public activity. Enmity toward and persecution of Jews in Eastern Europe was originally local and seldom ballooned into a world-spanning, trans-national ideology.
Secular anti-Semitism, in its nationalist and racist German attire, assailed the Jews for allegedly concentrating themselves in financial fields, which they controlled by manipulation. They were held responsible for the disintegration of traditional patterns of life in urban society, for playing a major role in the dissemination of leftist political ideas, for cosmopolitanism, and for permissiveness in culture and entertainment. The racist doctrine, although cultivated more effectively in France than in Germany, found zealous loyalists in Germany above all.
Furthermore, it is illuminating to note that a parallel literary version of the libel in the Protocols was produced in Germany early on. German cultural and national circles turned out a proliferation of publications, leagues, petitions, letters to the Reichstag, political parties, and international gatherings that were exclusively anti-Semitic. Although the anti-Jewish element was secondary or transitory in the political field, it was accepted as a legitimate element in the political platforms and information channels of the conservatives and the German Right.
The ostensible threat flowing from the international Jewish conspiracy gained momentum and credibility in many countries in view of the roles played by prominent individuals of Jewish origin in the Bolshevik revolution. These suspicions gathered special strength in Germany due to the role of individual Jews in the radical-revolutionary wave that swept the country in the transition from monarchy to the Weimar Republic. The importance of anti-Semitism escalated powerfully in the era of acute changes and crises in Europe that followed World War I.
According to the Swiss researcher Walther Hofer, the concept of the Jewish enemy in National Socialism plays the same role as class warfare in Marxism. Yet we would do the German reality a disservice if we overlooked the existence of very powerful currents in twentieth-century Germany that were not tainted by anti-Semitism, let alone radical anti-Semitism. Were it not for the endemic instability of the Weimar period, the misconceived foreign and domestic policies, and, above all, the maelstrom of the great economic crisis, Hitler would probably not have risen to power.
In the early s, about one-third of the German electorate cast their ballots for the Nazis and made them into a large political camp, infused with momentum and intoxicated by its conquests. It stands to reason that not all the Nazi sympathizers saw eye-to-eye with Hitler in racial and Jewish matters. However, racial anti-Semitism in varying dosages did not come off the agenda, as the Nazis were about to rise to power and did not act as an impediment to protest or resistance.
The actions taken, i. There is good reason that the ideological factor dictated the anti-Jewish policies and legislation, which careened toward ever-growing extremes and were the main catalysts that, under the conditions of war, fomented and abetted radicalization and brutality.
Theoretically, Nazi racism was already infused with an element that, if fulfilled on an absolute scale, leads to annihilation. However, we should distinguish between the ideational urge and its implementation, which occurs at intricate junctures of intentions, counterpressures, and difficulties. Plans for a territorial solution were considered during the first year of the war, although no particular effort was made to carry them out.
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In the early stages of the war, Himmler spoke against the method of total mass murder. In enumerating the circumstances that abetted the all-out murder campaign, in addition to the freedom of action and cheapening of life afforded by the war inter alia , one should include indifference in Germany and deliberate blindness in the occupied countries and the Free World. Therefore, they observed the progression from persecution to deportation to annihilation with consent, or, in any case, without horror.
He assumes correctly that the Germans used Jewish labor in disregard of the criterion of effective exploitation of the potential labor pool. In this sense, the labor of Jews was worth less than that of slaves or beasts--valuable creatures that should be kept in sound physical condition.
Goldhagen also renders a telling account of the plight of Jews in the concentration camps, citing the example of Mauthausen to prove that the Jews suffered a percent mortality rate as compared to the low rates among other categories of prisoners or ethnic groups. Although this particular camp should be considered an extreme example, the inferior status and high mortality of the Jews were typical of the concentration camps at large. Jewish working prisoners continued to be selected for killing at Auschwitz after selections of exhausted and ill prisoners of other nationalities had ceased.
After the prospects of the war turned against the Germans, they had to show a concern for their labor reserve, and their attitude toward their Jewish slavelaborers also improved slightly.