33 , 2015-09-15 , 北海道大学大学院国際広報メディア・観光学院 = Graduate School of International Media, Communication, and Tourism Studies, Hokkaido University
In contemporary school education in the German speaking areas, the Nibelungenlied is regarded as an incarnation of nationalism and national consciousness from the 19th century until 1945; this is symbolized by the keyword ‘Nibelungentreue’ (Nibelung loyalty). Some critics still insist on the assumption that the origin of such a collective idea lies in germanic hero songs such as the Lay of Atli. Its underlying idea is, however, not germanic, but ‘eddic’. It is possible to capture the Nibelungenlied and the Lay of Atli through an encompassing definition — but this is not ‘germanic’. Moreover, the interpretation of the Nibelungenlied in school is politically controlled — of course in a different meaning than in the period prior to National Socialism.
This paper firstly argues that the so-called germanic fidelity or loyalty should by no means be considered as typically germanic because such phenomena can be found in every period, region and culture. As a result of these reflections, this paper proposes, secondly, to not only connect the Nibelungenlied with National Socialism in educational practice, which is absolutly necessary, but also to treat the Nibelungenlied as poetry of the Middle Ages.