Out of the darkness: the Germans from 1942 to the present

Public lecture in partnership with the Weiner Holocaust Library

Event Information and Booking

29th February, 2024
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
The Wiener Holocaust Library, 29 Russell Square, London, WC1B 5DP
Frank Trentmann, Birkbeck, University of London, and the University of Helsinki
AfD Party, Facists, German Democratic Republic, Memory culture, Nazi Germany, Populist right, Reason of state, Reparations, Socialism
Germany, Israel
20th century, 21st century

Germany today is undergoing a crisis of identity. The Russian attack on Ukraine in February 2022 prompted Chancellor Olaf Scholz to announce a “Zeitenwende”, an era of change, but Germany’s place in the world remains unclear.  

Hamas’ terrorist attacks on Israel on 7 October 2023 were followed by declarations of firm solidarity with Israel from the German government and all parties but also by a dramatic rise in antisemitism and a lack of empathy within German society.  

In this talk, Professor Trentmann draws on his new book Out of the Darkness to put current developments in historical perspective. Through this book, he seeks to answer a central question: How have the Germans changed since 1942 and why? And who are they now?

Frank Trentmann is Professor of History at Birkbeck, University of London, and at the University of Helsinki. He is the author of Empire of Things and Free Trade Nation, was a Moore Scholar at Caltech and has been awarded the Whitfield Prize, the Austrian Science Book Prize, the Humboldt Prize for Research and the 2023 Bochum Historians’ Prize. He grew up in Hamburg and lives in London.

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