The Importance of Asking the Right Questions

The Significance of Daniel Jonah Goldhagen for Children of Nazi Families
  • H. Martin Rumscheidt


When remembering is engaged in as an intentional activity, it seeks, among other things, to prevent something from becoming the victim of the abyss of forgetfulness, as well as to enable what is remembered to elicit purposeful and determined engagement for the future. These two elements constitute what I understand to be at the core of mimesis: to keep alive and, therefore, to make vividly present what challenges and empowers those who remember to embrace the praxis of conversion, resistance and transformation. Such praxis requires creative imagination, critical consciousness and a community of solidarity so that right questions may be raised, appropriate critique exercised and necessary, realizable steps toward change worked out and implemented.


Critical Consciousness Christian Theology German Edition European History Creative Imagination 
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  1. 23.
    The German edition was published in Cologne: Verlag Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 1987. English translation as Born Guilty. Children of Nazi Families, tr. Jean Steinberg. (New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1988). Another important study is that of Dörte von Westernhagen, Die Kinder der Täter. Das Dritte Reich und die Generation danach. (Munich: Kösel-Verlag GmbH & Co., 1987). I have dealt with this literature at some length in my ‘Children of Perpetrators: The Generation After Auschwitz’, in What Kind of God? Essays in Honor of Richard L. Rubenstein, eds. Betty Rogers Rubenstein and Michael Berenbaum (Lanham, New York, London: University Press of America, Inc., 1995), pp. 51–63.Google Scholar
  2. 24.
    Alexander and Margarete Mitscherlich, Die Unfähigkeit zu trauern (Munich/Zurich: R. Piper Verlag, 1967). Idem., The Inability to Mourn. Principles of Collective Behaviour, tr. Beverly R. Placzek (New York: Grove Press, Inc., 1975).Google Scholar
  3. 26.
    Mitscherlich, op. cit., pp.82–83. The quotation includes a citation from Georg Lukacs’s Von Nietzsche bis Hitler (Frankfurt: Fischer Bücherei, 1966), p.21.Google Scholar
  4. 32.
    Friedrich-Wilhelm Marquardt, ‘Christsein nach Auschwitz’. Friedrich-Wilhelm Marquardt and Albert Friedlander, eds., Das Schweigen der Christen und die Menschlichkeit Gottes. Gläubige Existenz nach Auschwitz (Munich: Chr. Kaiser Verlag, 1980), pp.10–11.Google Scholar
  5. 33.
    Friedrich-Wilhelm Marquardt, Von Elend und Heimsuchung der Theologie. Prolegomena zur Dogmatik (Munich: Chr. Kaiser Verlag, 1988), p.75.Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2001

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  • H. Martin Rumscheidt

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