A distinguishing feature of contemporary Germany is a widespread public concern – one might even say, an obsessive concern – with the past. And not just with any past, nor indeed with any single past, but with multiple difficult pasts. No day goes by without a story – whether headline news, or inner pages paragraph, or cultural supplement review – dealing with some aspect of Germany’s past: and, more specifically, with the two contrasting dictatorships, the Third Reich and the German Democratic Republic (GDR). The debates about these regimes are at times heated, stirred up by a particular incident, exhibition, anniversary, and at times muted, a background chorus of local scandals or specific discoveries. But these two dictatorships represent, to adapt the controversial phrase applied by the conservative German philosopher Ernst Nolte, ‘pasts that will not pass away’: pasts that refuse to become ‘history’ (Nolte 1986).