"What should our second generation have done?"

It has been suggested that much of the time, the formerly Nazi population rejected feelings of guilt and shame, with the result that these emotions were passed onto their offspring.  Interest in this ‘second generation’ became heightened during the 1980s when some of them began creating support groups and writing books about their difficulties in living with this inherited identity.  Two examples are ‘Die Kinder der Tater’ by Dorte von Westernhagen (1987) ‘The Boy from Gimle’ by Eystein Eggen (1993); various collections of interviews and testimonies were also published.  Most wrote and spoke of the desire to distance themselves from the actions of the previous generation, although one famous exception was Wolf Rüdiger Hess, the son of Rudolf Hess

A review can be read here of the book 'My Father's Keeper' by Stephen and Norbert Lebert, which consists of a series of interviews with the children of prominent Nazis, some of which echo the younger Hess' denial about the extent of their parents' actions.  The niece of a Nazi accused of bearing responsibility for the deaths of 30,000 Jews decribes the effects of this on herself and her family in this article.

A recent attempt to show healing and reconciliation was the 2008 documentary ‘Inheritance’, which showed a survivor of Płaszów and former maid of Amon Göth, Helen Jonas-Rosenzweig, meet with Göth’s daughter, Monika Hertwig, at the memorial site in Poland. 


Monica's book is on the German Amazon site here.