# 128 / Editorial

After our summer issues, we’re back to our usual rhythm. This week we interview philosopher Julia Christ, in partnership with Akadem, on the weight of the Shoah and the memory of Nazism in German memory today. Ninety years after Hitler came to power, how do Germans today reconcile their national identity with the memory of past crimes? What does it mean, for example, that 80% of them believe that the end of the Second World War was a “liberation”? That Germany, like the rest of Europe, was “occupied” by the Nazis? Julia Christ evokes something akin to a German schizophrenia, where the active memory of the crime and the work of repentance go hand in hand with a form of distancing. “It was us and not us…”.

Journalist Simone Disegni has already examined in K. the “dilemmas and certainties of Italian Jews at the time of Meloni”. Today he looks at the role played by the words Nation and Fatherland in the discourse of the right-wing government, which he recalls have become taboo in his country. What exactly do Italy’s new leaders mean when they insist on bringing these two concepts back into the public discourse? Simone Disegni raises this question by looking back at two stories of Italian Jewish children: that of Edgardo Mortara, taken from his family by the Vatican in 1858, and that of Franco Cesana, a partisan who died in combat in 1944 at the age of 13 – two stories that a film and an online exhibition brought back into the news last spring in Italy[1].

Finally, we are republishing Philippe Zard’s article on Kafka’s legacy. Benjamin Balint devoted a breathtaking investigation – Le dernier procès de Kafka. Le sionisme et l’héritage de la diaspora (La Découverte, 2020) – on the fate of the manuscripts of the author of The Trial: their departure from Europe in 1939, their survival in Israel where Max Brod took them, their bequest on Brod’s death to his mistress Esther Hoffe, who inherited them from her own daughter Eva. These successive transmissions were contested as early as the 1970s, first by the Israeli National Library and then by the German Literary Archives in Marbach. The case went all the way to the Israeli Supreme Court. Taking Benjamin Balint’s book as his starting point, Philippe Zard looks back at what he describes as a “literary-political thriller, set against a backdrop of legal conflict and a war of memory”, in which Europe (in this case Germany) and Israel symbolically fought over the final destination of Kafka’s archives.


1 Marco Bellocchio’s latest film – Rapito [The Abduction] – focuses on the Mortara case. The multimedia project of Milan’s Centre for Contemporary Jewish Documentation (CDEC), Resistenti ebrei d’Italia [Jewish Resistance Fighters of Italy] – the stories of Jewish resistance fighters from all over Italy, shed light on the story of Franco Cesana.

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.