Submitted by: Dirk Van Laak
dvanlaak@tourmaline.uchicago.edu

Last year a book was published in Germany which might be of related interest to "perpetrator memoirs", as it deals with the shady borderline between perpetrators and victims:

Lutz Niethammer (in collaboration with Karin Hartewig, Leonie Wannenmacher and Harry Stein): Der gesäuberte Antifaschismus. Die SED und die "roten Kapos" von Buchenwald, Berlin (Akademie Verlag) 1994, revised edition Berlin 1995

The book documents and comments on the investigation carried out by the Socialist Unity Party (SED) in eastern Germany in 1946 about possible misconduct (e.g. abuse of privileged positions) by Communist Kapos in the Buchenwald concentration camp before its liberation in 1945. The book stirred up considerable emotions and evoked a lot of protest by former communist inmates of the camp, although it was neither meant to denounce the struggles necessary to survive in camps, nor does it deny heroic acts of resistance. But it revealed, how after the war the SED "created" an anti-fascist myth being completely purified from ethical ambivalences, which are inherent in every "total" or "camp society".

Dirk van Laak
University of Chicago
(dvanlaak@midway.uchicago.edu)