Summer Series : “Germany, Jews, 21st century”

Each week this summer, K. brings you a selection of four articles that have already appeared in our pages, but which have been brought together for the occasion around a few key themes. This week: a feature on Germany, with articles and reports by Julia Christ, Lisa Vapné, Constantin Goschler and Barbara Honigmann.


30 January 1933, or the day humanity died

On 30 January 1933, ninety years ago this week, Hitler was appointed Chancellor of the Reich. Faced with this event, the whole of Europe was waiting for one person to speak: Karl Kraus, a Viennese Jew, a radical pamphleteer and universally feared polemicist who had founded The Torch in 1899, a newspaper of which he was the sole editor from 1911 and from the arrows of which few of his contemporaries escaped. But Karl Kraus refuses to speak. Instead of commenting on the ‘event’, he tries to make all those who want to ‘talk about it’ understand why there is nothing more to say. Julia Christ examines the silence of the man who until then had always found something to talk about and gives an account of its significance for the history of Europe.



>>> Read Julia Christ’s text



Why do Jews in Germany speak Russian?

by Lisa Vapné – Paru le18 janvier 2023

200,000 Soviet Jews have settled in Germany since the 1990s. If they migrated to the land of the murderers, it is partly because Germany had a very positive reception policy towards them, but also because Soviet Jewry did not have the same representations of this country as the Jews of Western Europe. Lisa Vapné tells us the story of the complex integration of those who were at first desired, then disappointed, and finally until today are struggling to be recognized by their own community.


Illustration of an article from the newspaper TAZ entitled “Refugees from the former USSR: poor, Jewish, immigrant” published on January 23, 2020. The article is devoted to the issue of retirement pensions related to their work before immigration. Screenshot from the newspaper’s website.

>>> Read Lisa Vapné’s text



The Luxembourg Agreement: the mirage of reconciliation

by Constantin Goschler – Published on September 21 2022

Exactly seventy years ago, in September 1952, the Reparations Agreement between Israel and the Federal Republic of Germany known also as Luxembourg Agreement was signed. The West German government agreed to the demands of the young Israeli state and to pay substantial compensation. Traditionally seen as a form of reparation after the Shoah, the Luxembourg Agreement was in fact a much more subtle transaction that was not considered reparation or reconciliation. Historian Constantin Goschler examines the ins and outs of this agreement and the German and global geopolitical context that informs it.

German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer signing the Luxembourg Agreements on September 10, 1952.


>>> Read Constantin Goschler’s text



Jacob Wassermann : His Way as a German and a Jew

By Barbara Honigmann – Published on January 5 2022

“Ashamedly Jewish” is how Barbara Honigmann’s latest book in German, Unverschämt Jüdisch (Hanser, 2021), could be translated, quite literally. The portrait of the writer Jacob Wassermann (1873-1934) figures prominently in the book as a way of expressing the unease of a generation at the beginning of the twentieth century at the idea of being both Jewish and German – or of not really being either one or the other. Wassermann said he believed in a possible symbiosis of the two identities, while deploring the condition of the Western Jew of his time, cut off from his past. Through the figure of the author of My Way as a German and as a Jew (1921), Barbara Honigmann’s text plunges us into the heart of a tension experienced as an internal tug of war.


Jakob Wassermann, circa 1933, by Grete Kolliner, Wikipedia Commons


>>> Read Barbara Honigmann’s text

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