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Militaria: Collecting the Debris of War

1940 to The Present Day
  • Gillian CarrEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Contributions To Global Historical Archaeology book series (CGHA, volume 40)

Abstract

Why do some people in formerly occupied countries collect German militaria? Is this a sign of dangerous right-wing tendencies or merely the result of particular socio-historic events and processes? This chapter explores the phenomenon of collecting German militaria in the Channel Islands. Rather than approaching the evidence using preconceived interpretations of political incorrectness or interpreting militaria as symbols of closet neo-Nazism, I approach this chapter from a contextual and historical vantage point with the intention of understanding the motives behind this long-lived interaction and interception in the biography of objects which date to the Occupation. The history of the post-war biography of these objects has not been written down before now; rather, it lies in the past and present actions, collections and memories of collectors in the islands today. They have been the people who, from childhood, have tracked down and ‘rescued’, ‘liberated’ or ‘souvenired’ the objects, swapped them in the school playground and persuaded friends and relations to part with them or source them and who continue to trade them today or display them in their private museums. In this chapter, I also explore how the trade in German militaria ‘works’ in the Channel Islands and what this can tell us about concepts of value and authenticity when it comes to German militaria.

Keywords

German militaria Neo-Nazism Souvenir Object biography Trade Collection Collectors Museum Gender and collecting Nostalgia Obsession Authenticity 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.St. Catharine’s CollegeCambridgeUK

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