"What does it mean to discover an unspoken Nazi past in your family? In a moment defined by chance and circumstance, I learned of my German grandfather’s support for the Nazi regime, a fact that had never been openly talked about. Using my family’s struggle with memory as a site of inquiry, I examine the process of remembering, its transmission, and dissociation as it relates to perpetrator groups, and to third generation Germans in particular. What lurks in the silences that are passed down between generations? How does Germany’s collective memory of the Holocaust relate to individual and family memory? And how do we define the moral obligations of memory, or understand the continued power of dissociation? Any answer to these questions, I suggest, points to the ethical demands of history."
This talk will draw from the recent publication of Not in My Family (Oxford University Press), which won the 2017 Canadian Jewish Literary Award, the 2018 Western Canada Jewish Book Award and was a finalist for the 2018 Vine Award.
Roger Frie is Professor of Education at Simon Fraser University, Affiliate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, and Psychoanalytic Faculty and Supervisor at the William Alanson White Institute in New York. He is a practicing psychoanalyst, a historian and philosopher, and a former Columbia faculty member. He is author most recently of Not in My Family: German Memory and Responsibility After the Holocaust (2017), and editor of History Flows Through Us: Germany, the Holocaust and the Importance of Empathy (2018).