IT MAY AT FIRST SEEM STRANGE to speak of Germany's "silence" concerning the Nazi past. After all, hundreds of publications and artistic works have anatomized the period of the Third Reich. The German government has repeatedly acknowledged the crimes of the Nazis in the form of financial compensation, as well as in formal apologies to the Jewish people. In 1970, Chancellor Willy Brandt knelt in contrition, to acclaim at home and abroad, at the Warsaw memorial to Polish victims of the Holocaust. Since the late 1980s, German civic and artistic debate has focused on the question of how best to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust in a gigantic public monument at the heart of Berlin. How, one may ask, can the Germans be said to be silent on the topic of the Third Reich?