Originally published 05/30/2013
Marci Shore is associate professor of history at Yale University. She is the author, most recently, of A Taste of Ashes: The Afterlife of Totalitarianism in Eastern Europe.“In West Germany people know barely anything about thirty-five years of my life,” Angela Merkel, today the powerful prime minister of a unified Germany, said in a 2004 interview. This quote now serves as the epigraph for a new book by two German journalists, Günther Lachmann and Ralf Georg Reuth, about the East German origins of the German chancellor. The authors of Das erste Leben der Angela M. (“The First Life of Angela M.”) wish to impress upon their readers that Angela Merkel, who lived those first thirty-five years of her life in the communist German Democratic Republic, was more deeply a part of that society than had previously been appreciated.
Originally published 04/23/2013
Marci Shore, an associate professor of history at Yale University, is the author of “The Taste of Ashes: The Afterlife of Totalitarianism in Eastern Europe.”SEVENTY years ago today, a group of young men and women fired the shots that began the largest single act of Jewish resistance during the Holocaust.The Warsaw Ghetto uprising is rightly commemorated — through books, memoirs and movies — as an extraordinary act of courage in the face of near-certain death. Those who fought in the ghetto provide the iconic image of heroism, and an antidote to images of Jews being led to the gas chambers.The uprising was indeed extraordinary. But the manner in which it has been remembered over the years — in Communist Poland, in the West and in Israel — says more about the use of history for contemporary purposes than the uprising itself. The true nature of the uprising cannot be understood through its postwar commemorations but only through its wartime origins....
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