• Henley DFAS

The Art of Atonement: How Germany Commemorates WW2

The Art of Atonement: How Germany Commemorates WW2
19th October 2023 at 45am and 2.15pm
Angela Findlay
In the context of our World War centenaries, anniversaries and the current debate about statues and monuments, the subject of this talk is hugely relevant. In this country, relatively little is known about Germany’s complex post-WW2 process of ‘coming to terms with’ the atrocities of its recent past and the counter memorial movement that started in the eighties and continues to this day.
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Germany’s very specific situation rendered all traditional concepts of monuments and memorials irrelevant and inappropriate. Instead of commemorating their own losses, German artists created art forms that responded to questions of apology and atonement: How does a nation of former persecutors mourn its victims? How do you remember what you would rather forget?
The idea behind counter memorials is to keep the memories and lessons of the past alive in the individual psyches of the people. The results are extraordinary, brave and inspiring.
With her Anglo-German roots, artistic background and years of research, Angela is in an ideal position to give insights into Germany’s fascinating and on-going efforts to find artistic forms to remember and apologise for one of history’s darkest periods.