Memory and Violence. Local Recollections of Jewish Persecution during the Reichskristallnacht
The authors stress the importance of investigating individual testimonies on the Kristallnacht pogrom as a way to uncover the image of the events in the minds of the witnesses. The text takes as example the recollections of the pogrom in the village of Baisingen (Wuerttemberg) — a case study in the framework of an anthropological project carried out at Tuebingen University, aimed at promoting acceptance of the Nazi period as a part of local history. The dominant tendency of the witnesses was an attitude of non-involvement or indifference in relating the events, and the psychological mechanism of forgetting as a way to avoid remorse and responsibility. The definition of Nazi violence is extended to include bureaucratic institutional behavior, such as ratification of the 1938 anti-Jewish actions by government offices and local authorities.