Esra Özyürek, "Subcontractors of Guilt: Holocaust Memory and Muslim Belonging in Postwar Germany" (Stanford UP, 2023)
At the turn of the millennium, Middle Eastern and Muslim Germans had rather unexpectedly become central to the country's Holocaust memory culture—not as welcome participants, but as targets for re-education and reform. Since then, Turkish- and Arab-Germans have been considered as the prime obstacles to German national reconciliation with its Nazi past, a status shared to a lesser degree by Germans from the formerly socialist East Germany. It is for this reason that the German government, German NGOs, and Muslim minority groups have begun to design Holocaust education and anti-Semitism prevention programs specifically tailored for Muslim immigrants and refugees, so that they, too, can learn the lessons of the Holocaust and embrace Germany's most important postwar democratic political values.
Based on ethnographic research conducted over a decade, Subcontractors of Guilt: Holocaust Memory and Muslim Belonging in Postwar Germany (Stanford UP, 2023) explores when, how, and why Muslim Germans have moved to the center of Holocaust memory discussions. Esra Özyürek argues that German society "subcontracts" the guilt of the Holocaust to new minority immigrant arrivals, with the false promise of this process leading to inclusion into the German social contract and equality with other members of postwar German society. By focusing on the recently formed but already sizable sector of Muslim-only anti-Semitism and Holocaust education programs, this book explores the paradoxes of postwar German national identity.
Esra Özyürek is the Sultan Qaboos Professor of Abrahamic Faiths and Shared Values at the University of Cambridge.
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