By Katharina von Kellenbach
The Mark of Cain fleshes out a heritage of conversations that contributed to Germany's coming to phrases with a responsible prior. Katharina von Kellenbach attracts on letters exchanged among clergy and Nazi perpetrators, written notes of criminal chaplains, memoirs, sermons, and felony guides to light up the ethical and non secular struggles of perpetrators after international warfare II. those files supply intimate insights into the self-reflection and self-perception of perpetrators. As Germany appears again on greater than sixty years of passionate debate approximately political, own and criminal guilt, its ongoing engagement with the legacy of perpetration has remodeled German tradition and politics.
The willingness to forgive and fail to remember displayed by way of the daddy within the parable of the Prodigal Son grew to become the paradigm important to Germany's rehabilitation and reintegration of Nazi perpetrators. the matter with Luke's parable during this context is that, in contrast to the son within the parable, perpetrators didn't make an apology. so much brokers of nation crimes felt blameless. Von Kellenbach proposes the tale of the mark of Cain as a counter narrative. unlike the Prodigal Son, who's fast forgiven and welcomed again into the home of the daddy, the fratricidal Cain is charged to rebuild his existence at the foundation of open conversation concerning the earlier. the tale of the Prodigal Son equates forgiveness with forgetting; Cain's tale hyperlinks redemption with remembrance and indicates a technique of serious engagement with perpetrators.
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Extra info for The Mark of Cain: Guilt and Denial in the Post-War Lives of Nazi Perpetrators
District Court, District of Columbia, drawn up by a Washington, DC, law firm and signed by lawyers Wallace Cohen and Frank Reel, argued that numerous decisions of courts in the United States and elsewhere recognized that, while, in principle superior orders are not a valid defense to a violation of law, obedience to an order, which is not on its face illegal, relieves the solider of criminal liability. This rule reconciles the conflict between a soldier’s military duty to obey his superior without being held criminally responsible.
That is why the mark of Cain, the path of radical transparency, commends itself. 33 But there is an inexplicable imperative toward at-one-ment, or a coming back together, that can be trusted. An Outline of What Follows The second chapter sets the stage for the political situation in Germany immediately after the Nazi state surrendered unconditionally and its organizations were declared illegal. Millions of people were displaced, and hundreds of thousands of Germans were detained in prisoner of war and internment camps.
In contrast to the prodigal son who is quickly forgiven and welcomed back into the house of the father, Cain is sent away from the house of the father and bidden to rebuild his life in open conversation about his life. While the story of the prodigal son links forgiveness to erasure of memory, Cain’s story associates redemption with transparency 22 the mark of c ain and remembrance. In the story of Cain, repentance is moved from an internal affair of the heart (contritio cordis, the contrition of the heart) to the public realm of conduct and communication.