Peter Norbert Gengler

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PhD Candidate

Major Field: European History
Konrad H. Jarausch



BA University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2007
MA University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2013
MA Thesis: “Exhibiting Antifascism: Ravensbrück and the Ambivalences of East German Commemoration, 1945–1989”

Research Interests

My research interests focus on modern Germany, particularly the postwar period.  My dissertation examines the construction, instrumentalization, and institutionalization of a homogenized “master narrative” of “flight and expulsion” in West Germany between 1945 and 1990. I argue that expellee groups, historians, and politicians cemented a victimhood narrative and idealized past that emphasized German suffering and Soviet barbarity in museums, literature, and the media in order to underpin arguments for social, material, and political claims. In this manner, the expellee organizations fashioned a central concept of “flight and expulsion” and colonized public debates for decades, leaving a lasting impact of how contemporary Germany remembers the war and the integration of 10-12 million refugees. By examining the trajectory of the expulsion narrative, I seek to show the layering of memory, how it was used over time, and the defining impact that this victimhood discourse has had on German public memory and academic interpretation of the phenomenon. My work investigates the origins and evolution of a discourse that continues to inform German historical consciousness, thereby providing fresh insights into the relationship between memory politics, the production and narration of history, and political interest group advocacy.  Read more…

Curriculum Vitae

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