Title:
Go East, Old Man: The Ritual Spaces of SS Veterans’ Memory Work
Author:
Steffen Werther: Södertörn University, Stockholm, Sweden Madeleine Hurd: Södertörn University, Stockholm, Sweden
DOI:
10.3384/cu.2000.1525.146327
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Year:
2014
Volume:
6
Theme:
Theme: Social Movements - Ritual Space and Media Edited by Madeleine Hurd

Pages:
327-359
No. of pages:
33
Publication type:
Article
Published:
2014-04-17


This article uses social-movement analysis to understand the rituals, memory-work and spatialties of Waffen-SS veterans and their sympathizers. Most social-movement analysis focuses on left-wing protesters; our concern is with the marginalized counter-narratives, rituals and -spaces produced by the self-proclaimed misunderstood “heroes” of World War Two. This counter-hegemonic self-definition is essential to these former world-war soldiers who, despite an internal mythology of idealistic self-sacrifice, are vilified in West-European master narra-tives. We discuss how, during the 1990s, veterans and their sympathizers sought to replace rituals of memory-work in the newly-opened East. We look at how the Waffen-SS’s ritual memory-work is “replaced” in alternative settings, including – perhaps surprisingly – Russia itself. Here, Waffen-SS veterans use new, official, semi-sacred places to anchor both an alternative identity and an alternative definition of the central meanings of modern European history.
Keywords: Waffen-SS; veterans; memory work; ritual; place; commemoration; European mas-ter narratives; World War Two; Estonia; Ukraine; Russia

Volume 6, Theme:: Theme: Social Movements - Ritual Space and Media Edited by Madeleine Hurd

, Article 18, 2014

Author:
Steffen Werther, Madeleine Hurd
Title:
Go East, Old Man: The Ritual Spaces of SS Veterans’ Memory Work:
DOI:
10.3384/cu.2000.1525.146327
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