Legacies of Dachau: The Uses and Abuses of a Concentration Camp, 1933-2001

by Harold Marcuse
(Cambridge University Press, 2001)

Jacket blurb

Auschwitz, Belsen, Buchenwald, Dachau - the names of Nazi concentration camps stand out on the list of institutionalised horrors perpetrated in the twentieth century. After more than half a century, they include the most widely-known and most-studied atrocities in history.

While for some people the Nazi Holocaust represents a radical departure from the course of western civilisation, others see it as a logical outgrowth of the history of the west. This book takes one concentration camp, Dachau, and examines it in the continuum of western and German history, before, during and after the Nazi era. Situated in West Germany after the end of the war, it was the one former camp most subject to the push and pull of the many groups wishing to eradicate, ignore, preserve and present it.
Thus its postwar history is an illuminating case study of the process by which past events are propagated into the present.

How has Dachau been used - and abused - to serve the present? What effects have those uses had on the contemporary world? Drawing on a wide array of sources, from government documents and published histories to newspaper reports and interviews with visitors, this study offers answers to these questions. It is also one of the first books to develop an overarching interpretation of the complex relationship between history and memory for the entire sweep of West German history from the Nazi era to the new millenium."

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