Cover Osteuropa 6/2008

In Osteuropa 6/2008

Grandpa in Europe
Findings from Comparative Transgenerational Transmission Research

Harald Welzer, Claudia Lenz

Deutsche Fassung


Reassessments of the Second World War, the Holocaust, occupation, collaboration, and resistance are central themes of public debates throughout Europe. The transgenerational transmission of history and the construction of views of the past play an important role in the self-assurance of individuals, groups, and nations. The official memory and commemorative cultures that are established can deviate considerably from private memories. This is the case in Germany, where grandchildren invent good grandmas and grandpas in order to resist the imposition of a negative identity. In Serbia and Croatia as well, young people have difficulty using the past as a source of identity. By contrast, the young generation of many West European countries can accept problematic aspects of their national history, because national identity is not in question there.

(Osteuropa 6/2008, pp. 41–56)