borggraefe2

Henning Borggraefe is a doctoral candidate at Ruhr-University Bochum (RUB) and research assistant at the Chair of Contemporary History at the Department of History at RUB. his areas of expertise include German history prior to and after 1945, theories of nationalism, and reconciliation efforts of past injustices.

Mr. Borggraefe holds a Master’s degree in History and Social Sciences from Ruhr-University Bochum, where he conducted research mainly on the history and theory of nationalism in the 19th and 20th century and the social history of Nazi Germany. After finishing his studies in spring 2008 he took part in two international research projects on compensation for past injustices after the fall of the Iron Curtain. His dissertation project on “The Debate on Nazi Forced Labor, 1979-2005″ under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Constantin Goschler scrutinizes the relations between the compensation process and shifting interpretations of history. Furthermore, it tries to determine the possibilities and limits of compensation as a means of political reconciliation.

During his Harry & Helen Gray/AICGS Reconciliation fellowship, Mr. Borggraefe will focus on the latest changes in German reconciliation efforts after the establishment of the German foundation “Remembrance, Responsibility, and Future” and the beginning of its compensation program for former slave and forced laborers in 2000. In particular he seeks to examine in how far the foundation succeeded in bringing an end to the long lasting quarrel about compensation for Nazi victims, and in how far its payments contributed to reconciliation.

Recent Essays

In the growing scholarly discussion on reconciliation after violent conflicts, compensation
payments to former victims are described as a fundamental tool besides apologies, truth
commissions, or trials. Germany’s confrontation with its Nazi past is generally considered
a role model. Even if there is no consensus about a definition, “reconciliation” can be described as a process that offers former enemies a way to a shared future. The aim is to
overcome the past, but not to forget it …