Interrogating the politics of memory in contemporary German and Austrian representations of the “German Autumn” and its conclusion in late 1977, marked by the murder/suicide of the Red Army Faction’s early leadership in the Stammheim prison in Stuttgart, this essay highlights the RAF’s early (nonviolent) actions against the German institution of the Kinderheim (“children’s home”), which for many decades until the late 1980s had committed atrocities against children. The author analyzes the work of Michael Haneke, Elfriede Jelinek, Christian Petzold, and Gerhard Richter to understand the complicated entanglements of successive generations in the German postwar period. Still today, these entanglements continue to be haunted by postwar generations’ relationships to the so-called “Auschwitz generation,” feeding a highly complex and explosive German historical memory.
Unheimlichkeit in Kinderheim and Stammheim: Memories of Baader-Meinhof
elizabeth stewart is an associate professor of literature at Yeshiva University, where she specializes in modern literature/film and psychoanalysis, literature and law, trauma studies, critical theory, and modernism. She is the author of Catastrophe and Survival: Walter Benjamin and Psychoanalysis (Continuum Press, 2010) and the translator and coeditor of Lacan in the German-Speaking World (State University of New York Press, 2004). She has also written on the work of Hannah Arendt, Jacques Derrida, Giorgio Agamben, and Roberto Esposito, among others.