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Education, culture & Sports

Publications of the IZS

Collage of different book titles


Button Information; Foto:reeel/Fotolia.com For more detailed information on the individual publications, please click on the respective title in the following overview.


Ode to the great absentee who never left me

Report by the son of a French resistance fighter

Jean-Michel Gaussot

The son of a French resistance fighter who died in a German concentration camp investigates the fate of his father, whom he never knew but always admired. His long search takes him to the places where the disappeared man suffered: the Neuengamme concentration camp, the Fallersleben satellite camp in present-day Wolfsburg and the Wöbbelin satellite camp, where his father died in April 1945. Through his travels and research, and on the basis of documents that he only discovered later, he attempts to reconstruct the career of this hero, whose image has always preoccupied him. The son also talks about his own childhood and youth, which were deeply influenced both by the absence of his father and by the great importance of this role model for his life.
How does he feel about the legacy of this great unknown? Is it a protection or a heavy burden that he has to carry? A help in coping with life or a paralyzing obstacle due to the irrepressible fear of not being able to rise to the level of a mythical figure? The answers to these questions cannot be unambiguous, but only ambivalent.

Series: Texts on the History of Wolfsburg, vol. 44
ecrivir - the text makers. Hanover 2023.
13 euros
ISBN 978-3-938769-41-6 (August 2023)


Percorsi di vita. Life paths to Wolfsburg

Alexander Kraus/Aleksandar Nedelkovski/Anita Placenti-Grau (eds.)

Not every Italian migrant worker who moved to Wolfsburg in the 1960s to work at the Volkswagen plant did so for purely professional reasons. Some were driven by curiosity, sought adventure with their closest friends or simply wanted to avoid being called up for military service. The paths of life - "percorsi di vita" - were far more complex than the term "guest worker", which was commonly used at the time, suggests. And for the Italians, "life" itself meant far more than work, but a lively community in sports and cultural clubs, in the trade union and in politics - to make Wolfsburg their city too.

The twelve exemplary "Percorsi di vita", which were the focus of an exhibition that was shown from May 31 to June 30, 2022 in the Bürgerhalle in Wolfsburg Town Hall, are told in this catalog volume using graphic novels. They are accompanied by previously unpublished images, exemplary sources and twelve essays. The diversity of Italian life paths in Wolfsburg presented in this way makes it clear that the major issues of migration, which continue to shape our society right up to the present day, can only be understood through individual decisions.

Series: City - Time - History, Vol. 8
Wallstein Publishing House. Göttingen 2023.
35 Euro
ISBN 978-3-8353-5350-3 (March 2023)


Promoting and communicating contemporary art. New foundations of art associations in the Federal Republic after 1945/49

Alexander Kraus/Christoph Lorke (eds.)

The post-war period of the Federal Republic of Germany was characterized by a variety of new departures in all conceivable areas of society - especially in culture. The documenta, first realized in 1955, symbolized an opening towards contemporary art. However, the focus on the major international exhibition obscures the developments that took place in numerous cities across the Federal Republic: the founding of art associations initiated by various actors. These institutions quickly developed into diverse meeting places and presentation platforms for contemporary visual art. They thus became intermediaries between artists and the interested public. This volume uses the example of various art associations from industrial cities in Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia to reconstruct the significance of these local cultural institutions.

Series: Texts on the History of Wolfsburg, vol. 43
ecrivir - the text makers. Hanover 2022.
14,95 Euro
ISBN 978-3-938769-40-9 (January 2023)


On the trail of migration in Wolfsburg

Gegen Vergessen - Für Demokratie e.V./Institute for Contemporary History and City Presentation of the City of Wolfsburg; Annalena Baasch/Aleksandar Nedelkovski/Dennis Riffel (eds.)

The joint publication Auf den Spuren von Migration in Wolfsburg by Gegen Vergessen - Für Demokratie e.V. and the Institut für Zeitgeschichte und Stadtpräsentation der Stadt Wolfsburg offers practical suggestions for local searches for traces of migration history, illustrated with project examples from Wolfsburg. The brochure provides practical ideas and impulses for the implementation of your own search for traces of migration on site.

Berlin 2022.
Free of charge
ISBN 978-3-9825211-0-7 (2022)


Oral history from the right. Former elites of the "city of the KdF car" in conversation with Bernhard Gericke

Maik Ullmann

Between 1966 and 1975, Dr. Bernhard Gericke initiated a series of interviews in Wolfsburg that is probably unparalleled in Germany. In his role as archivist for the city of Wolfsburg, Gericke interviewed 69 people who, without exception, had moved to the former "city of the KdF car near Fallersleben" shortly after it was founded and had witnessed the construction of the supposed "Nazi model city" at close quarters and in some cases in a position of responsibility. Gericke interviewed former SS men, NSDAP functionaries, the former mayor and numerous other actors with a National Socialist past about the first years after the town was founded in 1938. He wanted to know "how things really went back then". The archivist was primarily interested in legitimizing his view of history, which was shaped by Nazi ideology and the spirit of post-war rights and which he saw increasingly threatened by "the young people who now want to demonstrate". The historian Maik Ullmann interprets the strongly directed interviews conducted by Gericke as a rare form of oral history from the right, which almost counteracts the actual aim of this historiographical method.

Series: Texts on the History of Wolfsburg, vol. 42
ecrivir - the text makers. Hanover 2022.
12,95 Euro
ISBN 978-3-938769-39-3 (November 2022)


Peter Koller (1907-1996). Urban planner in dictatorship and democracy. A biography

Marcel Glaser

The architect and urban planner Peter Koller (1907-1996) is one of the most colorful and controversial figures in Wolfsburg's city history. As Albert Speer's protégé, he was commissioned to plan the Volkswagen City in 1937. Thanks to his contacts with prominent National Socialists such as Speer and DAF leader Robert Ley, Koller oversaw numerous other construction projects in the Nazi state, including the redesign plans for the Gau capitals of Graz and Innsbruck. Despite this connection to the Nazi elite, he continued his career almost uninterrupted after the end of the war. The city council of Wolfsburg elected him city planning councillor in 1955, followed by his appointment to the chair of urban planning at the TU Berlin in 1960. After his retirement, Koller influenced research into the history of architecture and urban planning during National Socialism as a contemporary witness.

In this first critical biography, Marcel Glaser explores the networks, scope for action and processes of change in Peter Koller's life. At the same time, he shows how the nationalist reorganization plans of the Nazi regime brought urban planners into contact with social scientists and economists - this led to a methodological expansion of the subject, which ultimately resulted in the modern discipline of urban planning.

Series: City - Time - History, vol. 7
Wallstein Publishing House. Göttingen 2022.
29,90 Euro
ISBN 978-3-8353-5238-4 (July 2022)


Competing truths. Images of history in Wolfsburg, 1945-1988

Michael Siems

After the Second World War, dealing with the crimes of National Socialism shook the foundations of the city's self-image in Wolfsburg. After all, the young municipality owed its existence to a National Socialist propaganda project, carried out using thousands of forced laborers. An apologetic view of history quickly established itself in the city's society, which allowed a positive view of the city's past: it paid homage to the pioneering spirit of the first inhabitants and their supposedly apolitical enthusiasm for progress.

When, in the 1960s, members of the younger generation in particular advocated a critical examination of history and propagated a competing image of history, this narrative came under pressure. The conflict between these images consisted not only in the different interpretations of historical facts: they stood for irreconcilable ideas of historical truth.

Series: City - Time - History, Vol. 5
Wallstein Publishing House. Göttingen 2022.
19 Euro
ISBN 978-3-8353-3740-4 (February 2022)


Everyday life and war experience - Irmgard Busch's letters from the Nazi model town

Lucinda Jäger

"Yes, it could be so nice without the damn war!" wrote Irmgard Busch to her parents Fritz and Anna Müller in August 1943. Her numerous letters open up a view of the everyday and wartime experiences of a comparatively privileged housewife in the "City of the KdF Car near Fallersleben", which was being built up as a model National Socialist town. Lucinda Jäger uses the surviving collection of letters to create a detailed picture of the everyday life and routines of a family on the "home front" - from the perspective of a mother and predominantly regime-loyal "Volksgenossin". The family experiences the first years of the war - Hans Busch works as an engineer in a leading position at Volkswagenwerk GmbH - in a largely carefree manner. As the war continued, however, the worries recorded in letters increased; worries turned into fears, which increasingly clouded Irmgard Busch's thoughts and the reality of her private life.

Series: Texts on the History of Wolfsburg, Vol. 41
ecrivir - the text makers. Hanover 2022.
12,95 Euro
ISBN 978-3-938769-37-9 (January 2022)


A city without history? Wolfsburg as a democratic laboratory of the economic miracle era

Alexander Kraus

In the mid-1960s, the topos of Wolfsburg as a "city without history" was widespread. Whether in reports, official speeches or interviews with citizens - the lack of tradition in the Volkswagen city was emphasized everywhere. In fact, Wolfsburg occupied a special position in the democratic reconstruction after the Nazi dictatorship: Founded in 1938, the "City of the KdF Car near Fallersleben" was the only city in what would later become the Federal Republic to have no democratic structures to fall back on.

Alexander Kraus examines the post-war history of Wolfsburg as a laboratory of democracy as well as the social, economic and cultural transformation processes of the 1950s and 1960s. The conditions, mechanisms and conflicts of post-war German democracy are demonstrated using the former Nazi model city as an example. Wolfsburg, like the old Federal Republic as a whole, was a community in perpetual search of itself.

Series: City - Time - History, Vol. 6
Wallstein publishing house. Göttingen 2021.
29,90 Euro
ISBN 978-3-8353-3739-8 (December 2021)


Brought along. A history of immigration in Wolfsburg

Alexander Kraus/Aleksandar Nedelkovski (eds.)

Wolfsburg is characterized by migration more than almost any other city in Germany. However, the stories of most immigrant groups, whether from Portugal or Poland, Russia, Brazil or Togo, have not yet been told. This volume presents a selection of individual immigration stories, using objects that act as representatives - representatives of a homeland that was left behind voluntarily or forced. They take people back to their homeland and make their memories tangible. The objects on display come from a wide variety of countries and continents: from Belgium, Denmark and Serbia in Europe, Kenya, Rwanda and Zimbabwe in Africa, Iraq, Israel and Syria on the Arabian Peninsula, India and Iran in the Middle East, China, Japan and Uzbekistan in Asia, to Argentina, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and the USA in South, Central and North America. Those who read these object histories embark on a journey of discovery into Wolfsburg's immigration history and back into the world.

Series: Texts on the history of Wolfsburg, vol. 40
ecrivir - the text makers. Hanover 2020.
19,95 Euro
ISBN 978-3-938769-33-1 (August 2020)


City makes school. School developments in the "social laboratory" of the Federal Republic, 1945-1980

Alexander Kraus/Sabine Reh (eds.)

While Wolfsburg, once planned as a model Nazi city, made a name for itself among sociologists and urban researchers early on as the "social laboratory" of the Federal Republic of Germany, in recent years the focus has increasingly shifted to contemporary historical observations of various aspects of the city's history. In contrast to other cities and regions, the rapid and continuous population growth prompted the city of Wolfsburg to systematically pursue "school development" much earlier.

The authors of this volume examine the effects of Wolfsburg's specific conditions on schools, teachers and pupils and their reactions to them. This brings the interactions between the education system and urban development in the decades following the founding of the Federal Republic into focus.

Series: City - Time - History, vol. 4
Wallstein Publishing House. Göttingen 2020.
24 Euro
ISBN 978-3-8353-3580-6 (July 2020)


Industrial cities and their crises. Wilhelmshaven and Wolfsburg in the 1970s and 1980s

Jörn Eiben

Wilhelmshaven and Wolfsburg are two cities that could hardly be more different. One is the city on the coast, which was long regarded as an "emergency area" due to high unemployment and empty municipal coffers. On the other, the "car city", which, thanks mainly to the successful Volkswagen plant, usually had full coffers and a stable labor market. In the 1970s and 1980s, however, they were to converge structurally: If Wolfsburg had already been an industrial city since its foundation, Wilhelmshaven was to be transformed into one from the end of the 1960s - an undertaking that ultimately failed. At the same time, the 1970s and 1980s are regarded as a period of intense crisis, both in research and in the interpretations of various contemporaries. This period is the focus of the book, in which Jörn Eiben examines how these "crisis years" were perceived in both cities and the ways in which city officials dealt with them.

Series: City - Time - History, Vol. 3
Wallstein publishing house. Göttingen 2019.
19 euros
ISBN 978-3-8353-3601-8 (December 2019)


New beginnings from the retort? The Federal Republic's youth parliamentarianism of the 'long' 1960s between reform and revolt

Alexander Buerstedde

Youth parliamentarianism in the Federal Republic of Germany in the "long" 1960s has only received marginal attention in contemporary historical research. Alexander Buerstedde therefore devotes himself to the Wolfsburg youth parliament in the form of a case study and sheds light on the connection between municipal youth politics in the course of the 1960s and youth revolt in the course of "1968".

While elsewhere there were often only one or two model sessions, the "mouthpiece of Wolfsburg youth" met over one hundred times in the course of the 1960s. Originally founded as a place for democratic dry runs, it quickly established itself in the youngest city in the Federal Republic as the representative body of a youth acting as a political avant-garde. The politicization through this preparation for parliamentary-democratic practice prepared the ground for a youth revolt, which in turn brought the nationwide "awakening" to Wolfsburg as part of the later Wolfsburg Youth Forum.
Buerstedde thus not only makes a contribution to "1968" in the provinces, but also offers new perspectives on the network of relationships between reform and revolt in the "hinge decade" of the Federal Republic.

Series: City - Time - History, vol. 2
Wallstein publishing house. Göttingen 2019.
19 euros
ISBN 978-3-8353-3567-7 (December 2019)


Crime and memory. The Volkswagen factory's "foster home for foreign children"

Marcel Brüntrup

The Volkswagen factory's so-called "foreign children's foster home" was used to house the children of forced laborers from Eastern Europe during the Nazi era. Like many similar homes in the Reich, it served the purpose of exploiting the labor of these mothers without restriction and at the same time preventing the integration of their children into the "German nation". Poor hygienic conditions, dramatic overcrowding, a lack of care and attention and acute malnutrition led to the death of over 300 infants in two years - the result of a policy that branded these children as "racially undesirable".
Marcel Brüntrup traces the history of the "Foreign Children's Care Home" at the interface between National Socialist racial ideology and wartime economic interests. The basis for this are the records of the British war crimes trial, which was conducted in 1946 against the responsible company doctor Dr. Hans Körbel, the home director Ella Schmidt and others responsible at the Volkswagen factory.
In addition, a look is taken at how these events were passed on in Wolfsburg and at the historical-political developments contained therein.

Series: City - Time - History, Vol. 1
Wallstein publishing house. Göttingen 2019.
19 euros
ISBN 978-3-8353-3453-3 (May 2019)


A place of remembrance and learning is being created. The Laagberg subcamp memorial in Wolfsburg

Alexander Kraus/Aleksandar Nedelkovski/Anita Placenti-Grau (eds.)

In 2017, the city of Wolfsburg was once again confronted with its Nazi past when the foundations of the former prisoner barrack 4 of the Laagberg subcamp unexpectedly came to light during preparatory work for a construction project. The subcamp had been built at the end of May 1944 by 756 prisoners detached from Neuengamme concentration camp outside the nascent center of the "town of the KdF car near Fallersleben". After the end of the war, the prisoner barracks were used as accommodation for "displaced persons" and later for "expellees". The stone barracks were demolished at the beginning of the 1960s. As was common at the time, their significance for a possible confrontation with one's own Nazi history was neither reflected upon nor followed up. In 2017, a local and national political debate broke out about how to deal with the relics of Nazi tyranny. This volume documents the discovery and decision-making process as well as the conception of the planned memorial and learning site at the Laagberg subcamp.

Campus Verlag. Frankfurt am Main/New York 2018.
29.95 euros
ISBN 978-3-593-50972-3 (October 2018)


Robert Lebeck. 1968

Ralf Beil/Alexander Kraus (eds.)

"The year of the student unrest took place without me," is how the German photojournalist and collector Robert Lebeck summed up his experience of 1968 in his memoirs of a photo reporter. However, a closer look at the contact sheets, photographic prints and reportages by Robert Lebeck, which were produced in this epoch-making year for stern, one of Germany's highest-circulation magazines at the time, reveals how much the social changes are reflected in his trenchant photographs, contrary to the author's assessment.

In Robert Lebeck. 1968, the common threads of the year between awakening, protest, insistence and failure, which are not always perceptible in mythicizing retrospect, become visible through exemplary photographic series that Robert Lebeck created in New York, Bogotá and Wolfsburg, for example. Whether the subject is divorced women, Rudi Dutschke in Prague, Robert Kennedy's funeral or Beuys at the documenta: Robert Lebeck's works always combine condensed contemporary history with powerful photo reportage and photographic art.

Steidl publishing house. Göttingen 2018.
German edition: 38 euros
ISBN 978-3-95829-444-8 (March 2018, 2nd edition July 2018)
English edition: 45 euros
ISBN 978-3-95829-419-6 (March 2018)

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