chapter  10
36 Pages

Life after punishment for Nazi war criminals: Reputation, careers and normative climate in post-war Germany

On return to their communities from prison offenders are confronted both with the stereotype of being a ‘criminal’, and with a tarnished reputation among family, friends and neighbours. Stereotyping assigns them to a social category – that of a released prisoner – mostly independent of their personal characteristics or the specifi c nature of their offence, and thus defi nes in which ways they are received and treated beyond their immediate networks by agencies, employers and others, or what they are to expect in terms of such treatment. Reputations, in contrast are ‘embedded in social relations, and as a consequence, reputation is connected to the forms of communication embedded within a community’, as Gary Fine ( 2001 : 3) defi nes them. Rather than being an opinion ‘that one individual forms of another … [they are] shared, established image[s]’. Consequently, reputation can be managed and shaped by the individual, and addresses those whose opinion matters to her.