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Personal Experience and Discourse - Arab Contemporary Contacts with National Socialism, 1933-1945. Inquiring into a Memory Culture

The project inquires into Arab primary experience with National Socialism. Contemporary debates on Nazi policy and ideology in Arab countries will be confronted with personal Arab experiences under National Socialist rule. Our point of focus is the link between memory and personal experience, and between construed and real encounter with National Socialism. Moreover we are trying to locate our topic and its function in the (institutionalized) memory culture of current North Africa and the Middle East. The project aims to fill gaps in research on the extent and content of contemporary Arab disputes on Nazism. So far the relationship between the Arabs and the Axis powers and their ideology has predominantly been presented from a European orientalizing perspective. Our approach, however, intends to provide an authentic Arab point of view based on primary experience as a contribution to the ongoing debate. Thus anonymous "objects" of the relationship will be pointed out in juxtaposition with well-known "actors" such as Amin al-Husaini. This is due to the claim that apart from Arab "perpetrators", there were Arab "victims" as well.

"Discipline and Sacrifice." National Socialism in Iraqi Discourse

Peter Wien

The sub-project focuses on Arab elites and how they related to National Socialism. Furthermore it provides an analysis of the public depiction of this topic in Iraq between 1933 and the second British occupation of 1941. A close look at memory literature and contemporary sources will result in challenging the current thesis of research literature on Iraq's socio-political conditions in the 1930s, which claims that the pro-German attitude of the nationalist elite in 1930s Iraq led to a clear-cut pro-Nazi standpoint and an ideological alliance with Germany. Instead, we argue that sympathy for Germany formed part of a much broader and more complex framework of nationalist imagery.