Peter N. Gengler: Deutsche Opferrolle und sozialistische Staatsbildung. Neue Perspektiven auf »Flucht und Vertreibung« und die Deutsche Demokratische Republik, 1945–1950, in: Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung 2022. Berlin: Metropol Verlag, pp. 25–48.

Many scholars have argued that the question of "flight and expulsion" was taboo in the GDR. In contrast to the FRG, where German suffering formed a central element of the collective memory of the Nazi dictatorship, there was a regime-imposed silence in East Germany. A look at the sources nevertheless calls for a rethinking of the topic of forced migration in the Soviet Occupation Zone. Far from being taboo subjects, "flight and expulsion" and even German suffering were accepted concepts that differed little from the discourse in the Western zones during the first years after 1945. This article examines the strategies and policies adopted by the East German regime to cope with the humanitarian crisis of the forced migration of some 12 million Germans from Eastern Europe in the early postwar years. It shows how East German and discourse started from similar points and then evolved in different directions, reflecting the SED’s political and social agenda. Examining the ways in which "flight and expulsion" were discussed and used politically in the immediate postwar period, this article opens new perspectives on how the SOZ/GDR dealt with the most pressing challenges of the early postwar years, the burden of Nazi dictatorship and defeat, and the creation of a "new Germany."

Über den Autor

Peter N. Gengler, Dr. phil., geb. 1984 in Bonn. 2019 Promotion an der University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill zum Thema »Constructing and Leveraging ›Flight and Expulsion‹. Expellee Memory Politics in the Federal Republic of Germany, 1944–1970«. Seit 2020 Gastprofessor an der Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Veröffentlichungen u. a.: »›New Citizens‹ or ›Community of Fate‹? Early Discourses and Policies on ›Flight and Expulsion‹ in the Two Postwar Germanys«, in: Central European History 53 (2020), H. 2, S. 314–334; »›Appeals to the Conscience of the World‹: International Memory Politics of the Sudeten German Landsmannschaft and the Cold War«, in: Elisabeth Fendl (Hg.): Der Sudetendeutsche Tag: Zur demonstrativen Festkultur von Heimatvertriebenen, Münster 2019, S. 119–141.

Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung