Susan Neiman translates the German word Vergangenheitsaufarbeitung as “working off the past,” a description of the process by which Germany has confronted its history of Nazism. In her 2019 book Learning From the Germans: Race and the Memory of Evil, Neiman explores this decades-long process and offers lessons for the United States about how a country can come to terms with its historical wrongdoings. Amidst a renewed national dialogue about racism, reparations, and monuments in the United States, Neiman and acclaimed scholar and New Yorker staff writer Jelani Cobb engage in a timely conversation about confronting the evils of the past.

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