Made in Germany: Technology, History, Culture

Latest Tel Aviv Yearbook for German History out now

The Minerva Institute for German History located at Tel Aviv University has published its Tel Aviv Yearbook for German History 2020

The term, “Made in Germany” has an ironic history and an ambivalent meaning. Originally intended to be a warning against low-standard goods, it soon became a mark of high-quality products and has remained so ever since. Yet, as an indicator of excellence, it has occupied a problematic place in the German self-image since it signified practicality and materiality in the Land der Dichter und Denker. For the victims and their communities during and after the Second World War, it became a loaded term that associated the products of German industry with Nazi atrocities and the Holocaust. Nonetheless, even in their eyes, it was also a sign of pedantic expertise and robust, durable products, and a cause for admiration, often linked to German military power. In Israel, the term and the products that carried it, like virtually anything German, were controversial and charged with symbolic meaning. “Made in Germany” was also the death industry of the 1940s. German factories, the gas industry, trains, labor and production evoked mass murder and Zwangsarbeit, conquest and destruction. The idea of German (technical) mastery was essentially affiliated with death: “Der Tod ist ein Meister aus Deutschland” (Paul Celan).


  • Wolfgang König: Der Streit um die Mathematik an den Technischen Hochschulen um die Jahrhundertwende
  • Désirée Schauz: Technische Fortschrittserwartungen, internationale Konkurrenz und die Geburt der deutschen Wissenschaftspolitik
  • Simon P. Forster, Anthony S. Travis and Stefan Seeger: Saccharin beyond Serendipity: A German-American Wechselspiel of Invention and Industry
  • Karin Zachmann: Relativ sicher? Das Kernkraftrisiko als Herausforderung der Fürsorgediktatur der DDR
  • Eli Rubin: Plattenbauten, Rainbows and Neurons: Thinking Histories of Postwar Germany through the »New Materialism«
  • Rolf-Ulrich Kunze: Die Dampflok in der deutschen Erinnerung: Zur Konstruktion einer Sonderform des industriekulturellen Gedächtnisses
  • Milena Veenis: Ostalgie and Irony: The Battlefield of Consumption
  • Oliver Lubrich: Humboldts Technologie
  • Dorit Müller: Geoengineering als Zukunftswissen: Alfred Döblins Berge Meere und Giganten
  • Rony Klein: Heidegger, Hölderlin und die Technik: Verwindung der Metaphysik mit Blick auf deren griechischen Ursprung

Edited by Shaul Katzir, Sagi Schaefer und Galili Shahar the Minerva Institute for German History's volume 48, entitled with "Made in Germany: Technology, History, Culture", seeks to explore the term “Made in Germany” and to discuss its implications in a variety of historical, social and cultural frameworks. The articles of this volume examine the role of technology in German history and culture from different perspectives. The Jahrbuch is divided into three main sections, presenting three major frames of discussion: the technological, the historical and the cultural.

About the Yearbook

Each volume of the Tel Aviv Yearbook for German History is devoted to a specific theme in modern German history, mostly from the 19th century to the present, which is addressed from a variety of perspectives. Hence the Yearbook publishes original contributions not only by historians, but also by scholars from other disciplines. Authors include distinguished researchers from Israel, Germany and other countries. In addition, every effort is made to ensure that the Yearbook also serves as a platform for young scholars. Although most of the articles are in German, each issue also contains contributions in English.

About the Institute

The Minerva Institute for German History is an Institute for the research of German history and culture, being part of the Zvi Yavetz School of Historical Studies at the Lester and Sally Entin Faculty of Humanities at the Tel-Aviv University. The Institute was founded in 1971 on the initiative of Professor Walter Grab, who served as its first director. Prof. Galili Shahar led the Institute for eight years and brought together research groups and encouraged publication in the areas of German and German Jewish history and culture of the 19th and 20th century. Since October 2020 Prof. Gadi Algazi follows in his footsteps.

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