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Written with a questioning urgency and unwavering power, Schwarz’s investigation into how her grandparents benefited from the rise of the Third Reich broaches complex arguments about complicity and guilt.
Longlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize 2020
During the war, Geraldine Schwarz's German grandparents were neither heroes nor villains - they just followed the current. Afterwards they wanted to forget, to bury it all under the wreckage of the Third Reich. But decades later, delving through the basement of their apartment building, Geraldine discovers that her grandfather Karl profited from the forced 'Aryanisation' of Jewish businesses - and so she is compelled to investigate her ancestors' past.
How guilty were they? Combining generations of family stories with the history of Europe's post-war reckoning, Geraldine asks: how did Germans transform their collective guilt into democratic responsibility? And, given rising populism in Europe today, how can we ensure we remember the crimes of the past?
Publisher: Pushkin Press
Number of pages: 320
Dimensions: 234 x 153 mm
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