Article by Mona El Khoury

“The discordance between them, latent since her American years, became manifest when, the previous year, she published in a “Jewish magazine” – as he had said in a reproachful tone – her story “Mamie-louche” about her grandmother and her Marrano Jewishness. Since then, a fault line has opened up, gradually separating two people who believed in the eternity of their dance together.”

He said, “You remind me of someone.” “But you don’t know me,” she snapped, amused. “I just mean your face,” he said. “Ah! Well then maybe we’ve met before.” “That’s impossible,” he said. “The person you look like died before I was born.” The sentence fell on both of them like lead rain. As they walked up Cambridge’s main artery, now silent, she considered how to respond to this—to what seemed, then, like pretty much the worst seduction enterprise imaginable. She remained speechless. “She was my grandmother,” he added quickly. “She died in Auschwitz.”

“But why make yourself more Jewish than you are? You’re lucky not to have to carry that kind of name around; it just opens the door to anti-Semitic digs. And honestly, who really wants to be Jewish in France these days?”

With the support of:

Thanks to the Paris office of the Heinrich Böll Foundation for their cooperation in the design of the magazine’s website.