Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Germanic & Slavic Languages & Literature

First Advisor

Beverly Weber

Second Advisor

Davide Stimilli

Third Advisor

David Ciarlo


This thesis examines East German Holocaust memory during the late 1950s and 1960s through an analysis of three antifascist DEFA films. The films Sterne, Nackt unter Wölfen, and Chronik eines Mordes have previously been discussed in their Cold War political context. However, this analysis goes beyond the Cold War context, and analyzes Jewish characters in cultural products in order to make a discussion of Jewish survivors, victims, German guilt, and ongoing anti-Semitism in East Germany more visible. My analysis draws on Holocaust studies theorizations of silence and memory, cultural studies theorization of deep contextualization, as well as data from archival documents and newspaper articles. Through the limited representation of Jewish characters in East German films that engage with the Holocaust, as well as limited representation of Jewish survivors, victimhood, German guilt, and anti-Semitism a new narrative emerges for East German Holocaust memory. This new narrative conveys East Germany's inability to imagine Jewish Germans in their society.