Not All Were in Lockstep with the Nazis

April 10, 2012 at 10:10 am Leave a comment

A particularly timely reminder is shown below given Günter Grass’ recent remarks.

“Long Live Freedom”

An exhibition on youth resistance to National Socialism 1933-45

Presented by the German Culture Center –UMSL

In Fall 2012, the German Culture Center at the University of Missouri-St. Louis will bring to St. Louis a new exhibition entitled “Es lebe die Freiheit” (Long Live Freedom). The exhibit, created in Frankfurt in 2011 by the Studienkreis Deutscher Widerstand 1933-1945 (Research Institute for the Study of German Resistance 1933-1945) describes resistance by young Germans to National Socialism.

Consisting of 32 panels, the exhibition recounts courageous acts by individuals and groups to the Nazi regime. Some of these stories have already been well documented, like those of organized resistance groups such as the Baum Gruppe and Berlin’s “Weisse Rose.” The title of the exhibition comes from the words uttered by one of the condemned members of White Rose, Hans Scholl, just before he was hanged on February 22, 1942.

Many of the accounts in this exhibition, however, are less familiar. The panels reveal that the young resisters varied widely, both in their motivation and methods. Some had been opposed to the Nazis from the outset, while others were at first enthusiastic supporters of the movement who then slowly became disillusioned and dismayed with the new order.

The exhibition shows a broad spectrum of resistance. Some were associated with the socialist and communist workers movements, but others were motivated primarily by deeply personal religious and ethical considerations. Some managed to find small groups of like-minded souls, some were part of larger, more organized resistance groups, yet others toiled in lonely, solitary isolation.

The 40” x 86” panels are being translated into English and will be shown first at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and then made available for loan to interested colleges and other institutions throughout the U.S. The individual panels will be displayed using retractable banner stands, which will allow easy transportation/set-up and the flexibility to fit various venues.

The Frankfurt research institute that created the exhibit was founded in 1967, at first focusing primarily on workers’ movements. Their research broadened to include less reported resistance, including that of women, Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses. The institute now maintains a library and expansive document and artifact archive. Previous exhibitions included “Children of Theresienstadt” and “Women in Concentration Camps 1933-1945: Moringen, Lichtenburg, Ravensbrück.” More information on the institute can be found at: www.studienkreis-widerstand-1933-45.de

 

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