Bernhard Schlink’s The Reader, made into an Oscar-winning movie, is a novel about guilt. A woman who participated in a horrible crime as a. Presents a collection of essays exploring past guilt for both individuals and the collective society. Bernhard Schlink explores the phenomenon of guilt and how it attaches to a whole Guilt About the Past is essential reading for anyone wanting to understand.

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Equally cool and enlightening is the second essay “The Presence of the Past” which examines the inherited responsibility of the generation after a genocide, noting different processes aids in the psychic healing of a nation, citing the effect of the South African Truth and Reconciliation meetings as well as German volunteers on kibbutzim, in effect filling in the labour that the victims of the Holocaust would have done had they lived.

He compares the legacy of the Bernhzrd for different generations.

It doesn’t follow that they’re also guilty of what the Nazis originally did. Sep 15, Hazel marked it as to-read. Schlink develops the debate carefully, step by step.

Sep 26, Rick rated it it was ok. They do not allow to take the easy route that many had preferred and embarked on following the collapse of the regime in We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate.

Belief in collective guilt is part of tribal moralities, which say a crime by one member of a clan can license vengeance against all its members, including children. I enjoy Schlink’s ideas of guilt and forgiveness but as his point it to discuss collective guilt, it misses the individual level of forgiving self for injuries done to self.

Personally speaking, the film’s I’ve seen which are inspired by real life events Schindlers List or even fiction Das Leben der Anderen or even Goodbye Lenin have definitely prodded me on to dig deeper into the history.


Margaret rated it liked it Jan 29, As a gloomy Primo Levi stated in And even in this role Bernhard Schlink remains a figure of fairness, a man of opinions that matter. All in all a great examination of the aspect of a shared past guilt of a nation.

ahout According to Schlink ‘when some members of a collective commit crimes, its other members have a duty to identify them and expel them from the group. He considers how to use the lesson And, should it be?

Guilt about the Past

Accessibility Links Skip to content. May 21, Emma rated it it was amazing Shelves: If a person does not believe in a forgiving God, then they have to live with their guilt when they can no longer obtain forgiveness from the person they injured” Es geht um die Schuld der Deutschen im Zweiten Weltkrieg.

When they didn’t – when they preferred to forget Nazism – they became guilty as a collective for what had been done. Really interesting book of essays based on six lectures Schlink gave.

This is an extraordinary little book. But at the same time if victims raise objection to any aspect of the said depiction of events, one isn’t in a position to make judgement as an outsider looking in. Mar 18, Kaeti is currently reading it.

This makes it easy to follow even for readers with little legal or historic background. Schlink looks at the historical evolution of these concepts in the West and gets the reader to view these not as universal truths but as cultural values. Schlimk you’ve read Schlink’s fiction and enjoy other fiction about World War II or the Holocaust, this is really a great read.

Guilt about the Past by Bernhard Schlink | The Times

Based on a lecture series held at Oxford University inSchlink’s six essays provide insights and arguments for an deeper assessment of own positions and behaviours when we ask ourselves how we and societies as a whole can learn from the events and mistakes of the past not to repeat them.


This book doesn’t pretend to have answers to these questions, but does offer well-considered opinions and insights. How does the legacy of the past impact on different generations? These six brief essays raise a number of different issues, perspectives and possibilities, including: This analysis, he admits, has not necessarily been accepted readily by Germans of his generation.

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As a German citizen of the younger generation, this is a topic very close to my heart and I was very curious to see how Schlink would develop his arguments for thoughts that I would have considerable difficulties to articulate.

Prudence and Corruption talked about the s and s and how the past looked then, how people dealt with the past, gult was remembered, and how it affected people. BernhatdGermans should have identified the Nazis in their midst and severed ties with them. Rehabilitation is not the only reason for prosecution – Schlink notes that many former Nazis were found post war living normal lives and getting along with their neighbours, arguably not likely to commit further harm.

From inside the book. They seemed normal and friendly; late at night, they’d reveal what they’d done during the Second World War.