Anselm Kiefer was born in Donaueschingen, in a collapsing country that became the Federal Republic in 1949: the part of Germany under western domination. The artist therefore belongs to the "second generation" who grew up in a climate of both amnesia and guilt with no direct experience or memory of Nazism.
The first German generation born after the war was like overthrown heroes wanting to quickly forget the time of collective hypnosis. The Federal institutions pardoned the people and endorsed full responsibility for the past. But they also imposed a new cultural identity that cut roots with the German tradition and the Nazi past.
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