Join us for a screening of the film The Unknown Soldier, followed by a conversation with Visiting Professorial Fellow Michael Robertson and Sydney Jewish Museum historian Professor Konrad Kwiet.
For many years, Germans believed that the crimes of the Nazis were the responsibility of the SS and that the Wehrmacht were merely defending the Fatherland against the evils of Bolshevism. The humble “Landser” (Wehrmacht soldier) was as noble a figure as the Digger, Tommy or GI.
In the early 2000s, the Hamburg Institute of Social Research launched the Wehrmacht exhibition that recast the role of the Landser from defender of the Fatherland to enabler and perpetrator of a genocidal war. The exhibition caused enormous controversy and cultural conflict and remains a landmark event in post-war German history.
German film maker Michael Verhoeven released the documentary The Unknown Soldier to document an important cultural and historical moment. The film has particular salience for Australian audiences, now forced to grapple with a revised military history of Australia that engages with Colonial era genocide, war crimes and the catastrophic psychological effects of military commitments in the Middle East.
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