Speaker: Sadhana Naithani, Jawaharlal Nehru University
The concept of ‘Stunde Null/Zero Hour’ has often been used to characterize the physical and cultural state of Germany at the end the WWII. In this talk five deeply personal and (simultaneously) social narratives mark the flow of time with reference to space in German villages since 1945 to the present. Prof. Naithani argues that micro level narratives are central to understanding stasis, continuity and change in culture. They provide deep insights into the post WWII Germany. Villages constituted a very important place of cultural consolidation in pre-war Germany, but experienced nearly complete loss of community during the war. After the war they were populated at different stages with groups and individuals from elsewhere, challenging the very notion of village community (die Gemeinschaft) and making the pre-war definitions redundant. Yet, the village has survived in Germany; the question is: what role did it play in breaking the stasis of the zero hour and what is its role in the contemporary culture of Germany?