GERMAN STUDIES REVIEW: Volume XXVIII, Number 3 (October 2005)
    Frauenschicksale: A DEFA Film Viewed in Light of Brecht’s Critique of the Opera and Eisler/Adorno’s Theory of Film Music

    Vera Stegmann
    Lehigh University

    Destinies of Women (Frauenschicksale), a 1952 DEFA film, incited intense debates on the role of women in East Germany. Created by director Slatan Dudow, composer Hanns Eisler, and author Bertolt Brecht—three artists who had already collaborated in the 1930s in Berlin—this film is also fascinating for its musical and cinematic aesthetics. It contains hidden references to Weimar culture. An overview of Brecht’s essay “Notes to Mahagonny” and of Eisler/Adorno’s book Composing for the Films elucidates where Destinies of Women succeeds and where it fails to live up to the challenges of a new avant-garde aesthetics in film.
    Myth and Maternalism in the Work of Johann Jakob Bachofen

    Peter Davies
    University of Edinburgh

    Critical approaches to the influence of Johann Jakob Bachofen’s theory of ancient matriarchy on German culture have stressed the “reactionary” nature of the renewed interest in mythical modes of thought that his work embodies. Bringing to bear contemporary theories of myth and modernity, as well as current discussion of the language of “Mütterlichkeit” in the nineteenth and early twentieth Centuries, this essay questions labels such as “antimodern” to describe the reception of Bachofen, proposing instead that Bachofen’s rich and contradictory theories of myth and matriarchy became the terrain on which battles over the meaning of modernity could be fought out.
    Major Joachim Kuhn: Explosives Purveyor to Stauffenberg and Stalin’s Prisoner

    Peter Hoffmann
    McGill University

    Moved by the murder of the Jews and other Nazi atrocities, Joachim Kuhn joined Claus Stauffenberg in the conspiracy against Hitler and supplied explosives for his friend’s assassination attempt. When he was captured by the Red Army after the failed uprising, he was not welcomed as one who had fought Hitler from the inside. Instead the Soviets suspected him as an exponent of those anti-Hitler conspirators who sought a separate peace with the Western Allies and wished to continue the war against the Soviet Union. Caught in a singular historical trap on both the German and Soviet sides, he tried to escape with honor and dignity.
    The German Gothic Subculture

    Gabriele Eckart
    Southeast Missouri State University

    Since the beginning of the 1990s, Germany has become the center of the Gothic youth subculture. Their lyrics, music, and pronouncements combine a revulsion against a rationalist, production-driven modern society and its alienating effects on the individual, with a nostalgia for the past and a fascination with dark visions and death. Inspired by such diverse sources as Hildegard von Bingen, the deep Romanticism of Eichendorff, and early expressionism, their radical protest has moved both toward a militant fascist aesthetics and a fundamental critique of an inhuman, one-dimensional society. Special emphasis is put on the musical interpretation of poems by Gottfried Benn.
    On a Railroad to Nowhere: Irmgard Keun’s D-Zug dritter Klasse

    Geoff Wilkes
    University of Queensland

    D-Zug dritter Klasse, the second novel Irmgard Keun published in exile from Nazi Germany, describes seven passengers on a Berlin-Paris express in 1937. Although it begins like a wide-ranging narrative of persecution and emigration, many of the passengers’ stories develop in non-political, inconsequential, and downright farcical directions, a shift which scholars have struggled to explain. This article suggests that D-Zug is a novel of emigration in a personal and literary sense, interpreting the narrative’s erratic trajectory as a conscious expression of Keun’s fear that her continuing exile could stifle her political effectiveness and professional abilities as an antifascist author.
    Heine’s Lutherbild and the Singularity of the Historical Moment

    F. Corey Roberts
    Northern Illinois University

    In the early 1830s, Heine’s view of history underwent a well-documented shift. Around this same time Heine’s Lutherbild experienced a similar change, which upon closer examination, reveals a number of nuances in his new notion of history, its significance for socio-political resistance and revolution, and his ambivalent reception of the Hegelian notion of Weltgeschichte. Based on his revised appraisal of Luther after 1832, Heine understood the present as simultaneously indebted to and independent from the past, making historiography an episodic, even schizophrenic evaluation of past instances of revolution that paradoxically both documents human agency and undermines any notion of historical teleology.
    The Killing of Black Soldiers from the French Army by the Wehrmacht in 1940: The Question of Authorization

    Raffael Scheck
    Colby College

    During the western campaign of 1940, the Wehrmacht murdered several thousand black African POWs from the French army. German officers ordering or tolerating the killings felt authorized by the traditional stigmatization of black men in arms in German public discourse and by a massive propaganda offensive against France's black soldiers unleashed by Joseph Goebbels after consultation with Hitler. This “authorization through propaganda” produced great inconsistency, however, and must have led the Wehrmacht High Command and the SS to conclude that specific orders for the killing of “undesirable” prisoners were necessary, as issued later for the campaign against the Soviet Union.
    Sarah Sonja Lerch, née Rabinowitz: The Sonja Irene L. of Toller’s Masse-Mensch

    Albert Earle Gurganus
    The Citadel

    Daughter and sister of influential Russian-Jewish dissidents, Sarah Sonja Rabinowitz (1882-1918) embraced socialism and took part in two revolutions. As a student she met the Romance scholar Eugen Lerch, whom she wed on the eve of World War I. Through her week-long association with Toller during the munitions strike of January 1918 she became the model for his heroine. Two months later Dr. Rabinowitz-Lerch died in her cell at Munich's Stadelheim Prison, awaiting trial for treason. This is her story, culled from university archives, press accounts, Victor Klemperer's diaries, Kurt Eisner's correspondence, and Toller's autobiography.
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