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The end of transgression: Fritz Bauer as traitor on the German screen

Wölfel, U. (2020) The end of transgression: Fritz Bauer as traitor on the German screen. In: Purse, L. and Wölfel, U. (eds.) Mediating War and Identity: Figures of Transgression in 20th- and 21st-Centuries War Representation. Edinburgh University Press, pp. 75-96. ISBN 9781474446266

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The chapter discusses recent feature films about Fritz Bauer, attorney general at the court of Frankfurt Main. As antifascist and re-emigre, Bauer confronted his fellow Germans in post-war West Germany with the crimes of Nazi Germany and the broad support the regime had had. His tireless attempts to create an understanding of the Nazi regime's crimes and the system's injustice and unlawfulness, were seen by the German majority as acts of treason, as betraying the national collective which saw itself as a victim of the Nazis rather than as perpetrators. Centrally, Bauer's fight for an acknowledgement of guilt and responsibility was often linked to legal debates of the very offence of treason itself. The recent feature films set out to celebrate Bauer's courageous fight, yet in their subtexts they still mark him as 'traitor' and take revanche for his 'ethical treason'. As part of their hidden revanche, they reinvest the symbolic capital Bauer won with his courage, uprightness and conviction into stories that uphold the national collective's victim status even 75 years after Hitler's Germany and World War II.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > Languages and Cultures > German
ID Code:92481
Publisher:Edinburgh University Press

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