The Stalingrad Myth

Do07Nov(Nov 7)14:00Sa09(Nov 9)18:00The Stalingrad MythRussian-German Comparative PerspectivesVeranstaltungsartKonferenz


Organized by Claude Haas and Matthias Schwartz in cooperation with the German-Russian Museum Berlin-Karlshorst and the German War Graves Commission

With the capitulation of the 6th Army in Stalingrad in February 1943, the German war of aggression and annihilation in Eastern Europe took a decisive turn. While in German cultural memory the defeat at Stalingrad is thought of to this day as »synonym for apocalypse« (Jens Ebert), in post-soviet Russia their victory in this »battle of the century« (Vassili Chuikov) is still seen as a prime example of heroic fortitude in the ›Great Patriotic War‹. No other battle, no other locus for collective memory, has been charged with such contrasting meaning throughout subsequent decades as ‹Stalingrad›. In West Germany, ‹Stalingrad› served as the epitome of German victimhood in the collective imagination of the 1950s and 60s, excluding as far as possible the guilt of war crimes and genocide. In the USSR, by contrast, the cultural commemoration of the victims and heroes of World War II gradually became more important and even partially replaced the October Revolution as the founding myth of the socialist state, especially from the 1960s onwards.

Against this backdrop, the conference will pursue two goals. Firstly, we will examine how the Stalingrad myth itself has evolved in both countries and how it has shaped competing views of World War II, and possibly of war as a whole. Secondly, we will look at the social politics that initiated and benefitted from such a culture of remembrance. The conference, thus, seeks to erode the borders between the national interpretations of the Stalingrad myth by systematically confronting different literary, cinematic, and cultural representations of the battle with one another.

The keynote will be delivered by Nina Tumarkin (Wellesley College).

The conference language will be English.

Thursday, 07 Nov 2019

14.00 Opening
Claude Haas/Matthias Schwartz (ZfL)
Jörg Morré (Director German-Russian Museum Berlin-Karlshorst)

Panel I – Cold War Mythologies of the Battle

Elena V. Baraban (University of Manitoba, Winnipeg): Heroes and Foes: The Politics of Characterization in Soviet Films about the Battle of Stalingrad

Philip Decker (Oxford University): The Battle of Stalingrad in Newspapers of the Late GDR
Benjamin Hemmerle (Grenoble Alpes University): Stalingrad – A French Myth

Panel Discussion – Exhibiting War: Stalingrad in European Museum
Jörg Echternkamp (Director, Center for Military History and Social Sciences of the Bundeswehr, Potsdam)
Sergei Ivaniuk (Deputy Director, Panorama Museum “Battle of Stalingrad”, Volgograd)
Sarah Kleinmann (Cultural anthropologist, Berlin)
chaired by Jörg Morré
in Russian/German

Friday, 08 Nov 2019
Panel II – Witnessing the Battle: Perspectives from Near and Far

Dmitry Belov (Central Museum of the Armed Forces, Moscow): Live Stories. The Battle of Stalingrad from the Perspective of Participants and Eyewitnesses
Eugen Wenzel (Berlin): The Demythologization of Stalingrad in a Gestapo Prison in the Year 1945

Panel III – Fictionalizing the Victory: Early Literary Narrations

Franziska Thun-Hohenstein (ZfL): The Lieutenants’ Perspective. On Viktor Nekrasov’s “In the Trenches of Stalingrad”

Sibylle Mohrmann (Berlin): Myths of Love and Death: The First Novels on the Battle of Stalingrad

Panel IV – Remembering the Triumph: Early Ambivalent Representations

Robert Chandler (London): Vasily Grossman. Remembering Stalingrad
Dirk Rochtus (KU Leuven): Stalingrad: A Myth Hiding the Ideological Doubts of East German Poets Johannes R. Becher and Franz Fühmann?

Keynote Lecture
Nina Tumarkin (Wellesley College): What Has Happened to Russian War Memory and the Myth of Iconic Stalingrad?

Saturday, 09 Nov 2019
Panel V – Work on Myth: Literary Reconstructions and Transcriptions

Ian Garner (Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario): Writing the Past, the Future, and the Self: Post-War Reconstruction and the Stalingrad Myth
Daniel Weidner (ZfL): “30 days or 300 years.”. Myth and Montage in Alexander Kluge’s “Description of the Battle”

Michael E. Auer (LMU Munich): Encirclement and Teichoscopy. Heiner Müller’s Stalingrad Tragedy
Panel VI – Post-Socialist Revivals: Political und Public Reinterpretations

Egor Lykov (ETH Zurich): The Stalingrad Myth in the Digitalized Space. Memory, Conventions, and Controversies
Alexander Chertenko (FU Berlin): Nationalizing the Soviet Past. Donbass as a New Stalingrad in Russian Literature and Publicism after 2014

Ivan Kurilla (European University, St. Petersburg): The Battle of Stalingrad in the Contemporary Political Landscape of Russia

Concluding Discussion

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7. November 2019 14:00 - 9. November 2019 18:00(GMT+02:00)

Deutsch-Russisches Museum Berlin-Karlshorst

Zwieseler Str. 4, 10318 Berlin

Deutsch-Russisches Museum Berlin-Karlshorst