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Seminar "Coping With Terrorism in Germany and Israel - History and Memory"

The course will investigate memories of post-war left-wing terrorism in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) in its relationship with Israel. Beyond an understanding of a mere reflection of events, we will conceive memories as driving-forces in recent history. Work will concentrate on two basic questions that represent distinct analytical dimensions:

  • To what extent did memories (as specific references to past events) influ­ence the self-understanding and political legitimation of the terror­ists as well as counterterrorist measures taken by state actors from the late 1960s to the early 1980s?
  • How have memories of left-wing terrorist attacks shaped the percep­tions of more recent forms of terrorist violence (right-wing terrorism as well as ‘new’ forms of Jihadist terrorism)?


We propose to study memories of terrorists and terrorism in two particular fields: visual culture and public memory. Beyond texts, students are to utilise films, and investigate memorials, exhibitions, commemoration ceremonies and sites of memory, which in many cases are still in the process of develop­ing specific ways and patterns of commemoration and mourning. These processes of commemo­rating, which have increasingly been influenced by the role of the Holocaust, are particularly characterized by entangled memories and embedded in a larger cross-border culture of commemorating traumatic experiences of political violence. As the relationship between the Federal Republic of Ger­many and Israeli is particularly relevant for memories of left-wing terrorism in the 1970s, it will receive strong emphasis.

This course will be taught by Prof. Dr. Arnd Bauerkämper (FU Berlin) and Dr. Tobias Ebbrecht-Hartmann (HUJI).