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Strangers in Their Own: Young Jews in Germany and Austria Today

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
``With my heart I am not a German and never will be. . . . No heart can stand this sort of humiliation,'' says one of the 15 interviewees in this slim but devastating volume. Outwardly, these Jews, all of whom were born after 1945 to parents who survived the Holocaust, enjoy a well-ordered existence relatively free from neighbors' prejudice or harassment. But beneath the surface they are deeply distrustful of gentile Germans and Austrians; they live in fear and anxiety fueled partly by their parents' vivid memories of the Nazis and partly by what they see as an anti-Semitism that never died. They share the view that the elder generation of non-Jewish Germans feels no guilt about Nazi atrocities, while younger ones are abysmally ignorant of history and glorify the past. In the words of one subject, ``Nothing has changed.'' Nearly all of those interviewed believe that the Germans are capable of repeating the Holocaust. Articulate, thoughtful, troubled and troubling, this collective self-portrait of Jews adrift in their native land is also an important probe of modern German society. It breaks a wall of silence. (March 31)
Library Journal
This revealing book records the gripping stories of 13 children of Holocaust survivors born in the postwar period who painfully reflect on what it means to be a Jew in an environment haunted by the ghosts of the Nazi past. While the young Jews relate unique tales, their collective observations and self-analyses point to remarkably similar experiences: overwhelming alienation from parents, Germans, and the official Jewish community, often resulting in feelings of frustration, rage, and despair; and deep psychological need to justify living in Germany or Austria. Their generation appears to be psychically scarred, anxiety-ridden prisoners of the past who grope for the correct response to contemporary Germans' persistent inability to confront the Holocaust. Written by a native Austrian-Jewish journalist, this riveting book will appeal to specialist and nonspecialist alike. Benny Kraut, Judaic Studies Dept., Univ. of Cincinnati
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140099652
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/2/1987
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 5.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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