Rethinking Reconciliation and the West German Left Wing


  • Jana Stoklasa Leibniz Universität Hannover


Discussion about reconciliation in post-World War II Germany usually centers on Hitler’s Jewish
victims or recently enacted programs of restitution for so-called marginalized victim groups. In this
paper, I explore the largely neglected domestic reconciliation policy affecting the West German left
wing in the postwar period. Initially, on a genealogical, micro-historical basis, I investigate the restitution
claim files of former communist and social-democratic printing companies located in Hannover,
Lower Saxony. In the light of recent nationwide discourse in Germany about anti-communist measures
of the pre-unification Federal Republic of Germany, such as the so-called Berufsverbote (bans
on employment of leftists), these sources document negotiations to right past wrongs and shed light
on reconciliation policy during the German-German “cold civil war” that followed World War II.

Keywords: Germany; reconciliation; restitution; KPD; SPD; Berufsverbote

DOI: 10.14712/23363231.2018.3