Nazi Morality is a phrase that, depending on one’s viewpoint, might be considered an oxymoron, a historiographical question, or the basis for a heated debate. For Norbert Frei, the 2010’2011 Theodor Heuss Professor at The New School for Social Research the phrase represents all three and serves as the title of a course he’s leading this semester.
Visiting from the Friedrich-Schiller-Universit√§t in Jena, Germany, Frei brings to The New School more than three decades of research on the Third Reich. His scholarship explores notions of Nazi morality, overall Nazi social history and historiography, and the impact of National Socialism on institutions from local newspapers in rural Germany to the Ausw√§rtiges Amt, the German foreign ministry. His landmark 2002 book, Adenauer’s Germany and the Nazi Past, took an in-depth look at how former Nazis were integrated into the political process in West Germany after the war.
Since the 1960’s, intellectuals and politicians in Germany have been advocating for direct, honest confrontation with the Nazi past,, Frei says. But only in the past 20 years or so has this confrontation really become part of the Federal Republic’s political identity.,
The Heuss Professorship is named for Theodor Heuss, the first president of West Germany after the World War II. Permanently established in 1975, the program fosters a union between German and American intellectuals. In addition, the professorship commemorates the NSSR’s founding tradition as a haven for intellectual refugees fleeing fascist persecution in Europe. Heuss Professors have included some of the most prominent names in German social science.