The Sins of the Fathers: Mark Herman's The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2008) and Cate Shortland's Lore (2012)

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Abstract

This article sets two recent international films featuring the children of Holocaust perpetrators in the context of united Germany's discourse about the National Socialist past. It draws on Karen Lury's The Child in Film (2010) and Murray Smith's Engaging Characters (1995) to provide a close reading of Mark Herman's The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2008) and Cate Shortland's Lore (2012), and argues that while both directors appear to be using the child figure as a means of exploring the topic of Holocaust perpetration, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas not only reflects outdated understandings of the Third Reich, but also risks presenting the perpetrators themselves as victims. Lore, on the other hand, can be read as both a thought-provoking intervention into post-unification debates about German perpetration and victimhood and as an encouragement to non-German viewers to consider issues of perpetration much closer to home.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)254-270
Number of pages16
JournalOxford German Studies
Volume44
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2015

Keywords

  • Childhood
  • film
  • memory
  • Holocaust
  • perpetration

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