- About Us
- Get Involved
- For Professionals
However one may judge the relationships between Jews and non-Jews in the first decades of our century, they were never, and probably could not be, unencumbered and natural. Given what happened between 1933 and 1945, the enormous growth of this deeply rooted bias probably requires no explanation. But where a huge mortgage of guilt burdens relationships between people, where impartiality is inconceivable, that is the point at which the call to fraternity has an unfortunate aftertaste and becomes utterly unbelievable. I often ask myself where those who annually demand fraternity get the courage to do so ... more important than ceremonious assertions is rational enlightenment. One should stop the lamentations and start to educate.1
Thus Reich-Ranicki in 1970.
The characteristic figure in German literature in 1945, a year tellingly known as the "zero point," was the returning veteran; Wolfgang Borchert created the archetype in his radio play Draussen vor der Tur (Outside the Door). "The legendary little man, who always suffered and never won"2 dominated a literature that examinedoften from a petit bourgeois perspective such as Boll's the crimes of the powerful and the suffering of the powerless, thus avoiding a focus on individual responsibility and accommodating a reading public that had no desire to hear its own failures discussed.
The new science of victimology ... has psychologically investigated many cases and established that a perpetrator of violence usually blames the victim for his misfortune, and furthermore denies the suffering of his victim (even if he has killed the latter). He refuses to compensate his victims.3
Hans Mayer states that disillusionment and disappointment were the "German" reaction to the year 1945.4This remark overlooks people who lived for the day of capitulation that would bring their liberation. Apitz presents the moment of liberation in his concentration camp novel Nackt unter Wolfen (Naked Among Wolves) as follows:
People laughed, cried, danced! They jumped up on tables, threw their arms in the air, screamed it into each others' faces, screamed, screamed, as if madness had seized them. . . . Just reveling in the intoxication, finally, finally to be streaming through the hated gates, rejoicing and rushing into the outstretched arms of freedom ...5
There was no uniform "German" reaction to the end of the war. There were two groups with fundamentally different standpoints. The first group consisted of Germans who had supported and tacitly approved of the National Socialist system, who had had a self-interest in its perpetuation and had contributed to maintaining it. Among these were the war veterans, whether disillusioned and exploited or not. The second group was fundamentally different. It was made up of those who had been persecuted for their birth or opinion.
Purification from the false pathos of "blood and soil" literature and from National Socialist stereotypes was indeed required for the first group, whose world, the one in which they had functioned, had collapsed. But a purification program was absurd and insulting to those who had found it impossible to identify with Nazi Germany or were forbidden to do so by the NSDAP party program. The notion of radical "purification" aroused their suspicion.
The radicality with which a "zero point" was postulated corresponded to the radicality in which the Nazi regime had cast the outcome in terms of "total" victory or defeat, of splendor or chaos.
After the war, this way of thought was accepted, consciously or unconsciously. Defeat as the "total" zero point of German history became a social myth.6
Walter Jens made a similar point:
The "laying bare" (Kahlschlag) demanded by Wolfgang Weyrauch and others who thought similarly never really came about. What one terms "Kahlschlag"-in several memoirs of the immediate postwar periodwas not a new beginning and possessed nothing like the qualities of a new beginning for German language and literature: everything was characterized, and we are speaking of a considerable amount of literature, by abstention from romantic kitsch and pseudoheroic boastfulness.7
The zero point was understood as a philosophical and psychological position, not as an historical reality.
Yet the experiences of Holocaust and exile, which could have become an integral part of the German literary scene immediately after the war-there was no lack of relevant publications8 - made only minor inroads into public consciousness, and even books by prominent authors-such as Aichinger's Herod's Children-were far less known than the works of Bo11 or Grass. In addition, early works about the Holocaust remained in print only for a short time.
German attempts at a radical new beginning were paralleled in Austria by the works of a linguistic-formalistic Viennese group, whose ideals of an absolute literature and a non-goal-oriented creativity recall the ahistorical nature of the zero point ideology. Here there was no discussion of the past, and literary criticism of the fiffies and sixties followed suit. Terms like "text- immanent approach" and "existential perspective" referred not only to new methods but to a not accidental distancing from the painful writing of history and sociology.
To the disadvantage of postwar Austrian literature, the economic situation remained bleak into the 1950s. Aid and investment from the West did not arrive as long as the Russian occupation lasted. Austrian authors emigrated to the Federal Republic of Germany or elsewhere. Many exiles did not return while others remained in Austria but published with West German firms. The domestic Austrian scene became increasingly dominated by conservative circles. The success of Wort in der Zeit at the end of the 1960s was characteristic of the times. This was a literary journal that when not steering clear of political and social comment altogether, revealed in its editorial or topical issues traditional, if not reactionary, tendencies. The quest for an Austrian national identity, and Austrian national character and tradition, was frequently discussed. Clearly the prototypical Austrian author promoted by Wort in der Zeit excluded large groups of writers, not least, Holocaust authors.
Wort in der Zeit was one of the literary Austrian magazines until the end of the sixties. In contrast, publications such as Otto Basil's Plan, which, immediately after Germany's collapse, had attempted a courageous confrontation with the Nazi past, failed after only a few issues. Similarly, Sch6nwiese's journal Das Silberboot, which attempted to inform readers about the pre-war Austrian Nazi literary tradition and the international scene, as well as Die Pestsaule, in which numerous Jewish, and above all, leftist Jewish writers, such as Hermann Hakel, were influential, appeared only for a short time.
It was not easy for later journals more avant-garde in style and ideology such as Manuskripte and Publikationen (published in Graz) to come into their own vis-a-vis Wort in der Zeit and Literatur und Kritik, another traditionalist magazine still appearing today. At times the latter two even shared the same editors. Austrian literary circles were so homogeneous and cliquish that even the members of the Vienna Group, young avant-garde authors of experimental, though by no means overly socio-critical texts, e.g., Artmann, Wiener, Ruhm, et al., found it difficult to have their texts printed in Austria.9
If Austrian writers wanted to publish in the Federal Republic, however, they had to adapt to West German market conditions.10 Not all viewpoints could be expressed. In fact, veterans, self-declared victims who were really perpetrators, dominated the scene. Many poems of Erich Fried written around 1948 were published, usually by Claasen, only in the late fifties and in the sixties. After the war, writers who became well known were either those who were just beginning their careers or those who, like the already famous Gunter Eich, continued their careers under new auspices. When we know the facts of their lives, it is truly astounding that German soldiers interpreted themselves as victimized and deceived, irrespective of their generation. Their attitude makes a kind of psychological sense only because the alternatives were so clear: to be either a victim or an accomplice. Praise of manly virtues and comradely spirit breaks forth in many works, for example, in Borchert, Richter, and Bo11, as if those in uniform had been really all right and only the system- imposed from above, inscrutable, approved by no one-had been unjust.11
Since the typical German literary form was not the realistic adventure story and writers were not necessarily involved in researching and narrating the past, gigantic issues could be suppressed and evaded. Kreuder and Eich, for example, present a generalized human angst, an ahistorical, universal experience that is central to their work. When the more specific suffering of war or oppression is shown, it is still a phenomenological given, without consideration of its origins in historical, concrete situations. This is also true of Boll's mythical allusions to animals like buffalo and sheep in Billiard um halbzehn (Billiards at Half-past Nine), in which archetypes are forced to stand in for sociological and ideological particulars. Even the great critical and analytical works of the Austrian Doderer, Die Strudelhofstiege (1951) and Die Damonen (1956), have plots that break off long before the crucial decade of the thirties, a fact made all the more interesting by Doderer's preoccupation with themes of ideological blindness and "Apperzeptionsverweigerung."12
In the West German zero-point landscape, and beyond it, the perspective of the German majority dominates. It is reflected in a literature by men, frequently ex-soldiers, who could indeed experience homecoming as a tabula rasa, since everything that they had been fighting for had lost, at least officially, all its value. In Austria the fixation on the zero hour is completely lacking and the commitment to a literature in ruins (Trummerliteratur) as well, so that the Austrian periodical Der Plan fundamentally differs from Hans-Werner Richter's Der Ruf in its themes and political tendencies. Austrian authors sound basically different from West Germans. Even those who, like Aichinger and Bachmann, published in the Federal Republic, did not assimilate the themes prominent there. Walter Jens reported on the appearance of young Austrians at the Gruppe 47 in 1952:
It was in Niendorf on the Baltic, spring 1952, a meeting of the Gruppe 47 was taking place. The verists, good narrative craftsmen, read from their novels. Then suddenly it happened. A man named Paul Celan (nobody had heard the name before) began, in a chanting and very otherworldly way, to recite his poems; Ingeborg Bachmann, a debutante from Klagenfurt came, whispered, haltingly and hoarsely, some verses; Ilse Aichinger presented, softly Viennese, the "Spiegelgeschichte." (Jens, p. 188)
Historical situation determines style, and Austria was not in the same condition as Germany when Weyrauch proclaimed the "Kahlschlag" and a decline of language so precipitous that, according to Adorno, it was not possible to write poems after Auschwitz.13 In spite of Austro-fascism it must not be forgotten that an act of war was necessary to "join Austria to the Reich," and even as the Deutschtumler were enthusiastically racing to the Heldenplatz, the arrests and maltreatment of people whom the Nazis found trouble some began.14 From the beginning there was an Austrian resistance, which, despite relentless persecution-the atrocities of Mauthausen among others speak eloquently enough-never dwindled away entirely. On 4 April 1945 Lieutenant General of the Waffen-SS Kramer reported to the headquarters of Army Group South: "In Vienna the shooting has already started, but it's not the Russians who are shooting-it's the Austrians."15
The voices of Nazi victims were at first immediately audible in Austria.16 In early postwar works collective guilt played a smaller role-in this respect there are historically and ideologically determined parallels between Austria and the German Democratic Republic. Wherever the victims spoke, however, there was no need of linguistic denazification, since the persecuted had never identified with the language of their oppressors. On the contrary, Karl Kraus, Hermann Broch, and Elias Canetti, like Klemperer in Germany, were alert critics of the degradation and corruption of language by Nazi ideology and terminology. Canetti, who, to be sure, wrote in exile, but who did not publish, much less engage in pamphleteering, understood his role as follows:
The terrible events in Germany have given Life a new responsibility. Earlier, during the war, he stood all alone. Whatever he thought was thought for all people; he would certainly have to stand judgment for it in a future time, but he did not have to explain his conduct to anyone living today ....
Today, with the collapse of Germany, all this has changed for him. People there will soon be looking for their own language, which was stolen from them and deformed. Anyone who has kept it pure during the years of utmost madness will have to hand it over. It is true, he will keep living for everyone, and he will always have to live alone, responsible to himself as the highest authority; but he now has to hand it over, with love and gratitude, with interest and compound interest. (pp. 64-65)17
The language of my intellect will remain German-because I am Jewish. Whatever remains of the land which has been laid waste in every way-I wish to preserve it in me as a Jew. Their destiny too is mine; but I bring along a univesal human legacy. I want to give back to their language what I owe it. I want to contribute to their having something that others can be grateful for. (p. 53)
Canetti shares his positive identification with the German language with numerous other Austrian Jewish authors, Weigel for example. Because of his radical pacifism, to be sure, he stands somewhat apart.18 It was largely the literary tradition of Jewish writers such as Kafka, Schnitzler, Freud, Kraus, Broch, Werfel, and Canetti that was forbidden in Austria. After the years of German occupation they remained as unknown as the international literature of the time: Camus, Sartre, Faulkner, Hemingway, Becket, and lonesco. Returning exiles such as Hakel and Csokor functioned as mediators.
Georg, the bridge stands no more
We will build it anew
What shall it be called?
The larger hope, our hope
Georg, Georg, I see the star
Blazing eyes fixed on a shattered remnant of
the bridge, Ellen sprang over ripped up jutting
streetcar rail and, even before gravity drew her
back to earth, she was torn in pieces by an
Above the bridges being fought for stood the
Right to the end, the hope of Aichinger's protagonist Ellen is kept alive; she dies only in sight of the new day. Even the death of the individual cannot prevent the new beginning. The situation before the war's end is horrible. A poem that Hilde Spiel recalls goes: "When that man is dead and gone, we'll be dancing down the street, kissing everyone we meet."20A 1952 essay of Aichinger's with the telling title "The Birds Begin to Sing While It Is Still Dark" emphasizes the element of hope in the postwar period and does not fit the notion of a literary environment perceived as devastated and collapsed. Aichinger's point of view corresponds to that of all the persecuted who celebrated the arrival of the Allies as a day of liberation.
To be sure, Aichinger does not support an exaggerated optimism. Her important article "Exhortation to Mistrust" differs critically from Hans Weigel's essay "The Draped Windows" of 1946 in Der Plan, which is an early gesture of reconciliation with Germany and with German culture.21 Of course Weigel's gesture has a different value than it would if it came from a former member of the Nazi hierarchy, and his pro- Austria stance as a former persecuted exile is different from the National Socialism of the recent past. But in other instances Greater German nationalism seamlessly merges into the new Austrian nationalism.
After the war, intensive attempts to set the literature of Austria apart from West Germany and its literature can also be seen. In Ivask, Eisenreich, and Adel, among others, there often arise chauvinistic discussions reminiscent of the nationalist literary history of, for example, Josef Nadler.22 Articles attempting to characterize that which is specifically Austrian, articles that appeared in Wort in der Zeit or Literatur und Kritik in the fifties and sixties, recall all too acutely the old Nazi pathos. But a large segment of Austrian authors consciously distanced themselves from these tendencies. Thomas Bernhard speaks forcefully in his "Political Morning Devotions," as do other authors such as Artmann, of an anti-Heimat idea.23
Far more in Austria than in Germany, there was a wide range of voices after 1945, including the voices of Nazi victims. One of the works written from the vantage point of persecuted Jews was Ilse Aichinger's novel Die Grossere Hoffnung (Herod's Children), published in Vienna and Frankfurt in 1948. Without ever explicitly mentioning the term Nazi or names like Hitler, Eichmann, or Goebbels, and without calling the city of Vienna by name, the novel evokes the world of Nazi terror there. Broch, Canetti, Celan, Spiel, and even Weiss in his Aesthetik des Widerstands (Aesthetics of Resistance), name and list the victims but not the perpetrators, and they make clear that the latter do not deserve a name or a voice, in accordance with the Jewish maxim "We shall not dwell upon him in our thoughts."24
Even if the works of the subsequent decades signal a deep grief about the past-the radio play Besuch im Pfarrhaus (Visit to the Parsonage) and short pieces from Eliza, Eliza furnish examplesAichinger has not expressed herself so unguardedly about Nazi rule since her novel.
The first sentence of her anthology of 1976 Schlechte Worter (Bad Words) proclaims a decision: "I am not going to use the better words any more."25 The desire not to hide behind language is clearly manifested in "Rachel's Clothes." To the extent that the text presents, almost programmatically, methods of evading, it also implicitly contains a way of getting beyond the game of hide and seek. By describing her literary techniques, she simultaneously overcomes her self-destructive silence.
The last work in the volume is Gare Maritime. The language and motifs are those of the concentration camp. The theme is flight from a world of bars, gates, cellblocks that are closed, opened, and locked; flight from the whims of guards and overseers whose joviality turns without warning into mistreatment. In their fragility and two-dimensionality the protagonists, two dolls, represent the Nazi captives, emaciated and reduced to numbers.
His footsteps A foot shuffles You hear stuff like that Every old scrap of linen that starts blowing here for the first time ... Hey how did you get to be here you two Didn't I say right off there's something to it But what it is Shredded and the rags hung on the old oven hood To hell with it no you are not very decorative Do you know that And how you smell Like glue and bone meal wet as you are With you I'm not going to mess around too long For you the cellar is too good Hey you He Kicks at Joan and Joe The Clunk of Bones But I'll tell you Better too much than too little Of you I'll make short work Down from the hook The tearing of satin You are falling pretty easily you are not hard to move around Noise of bones falling on one another ... These ones say something I'm going to get the car now Already at the door Say something Say something The door goes A moment of silence JOE: Was I good Joan JOAN: When your joints broke I marvelled at you You were very good And I JOE: You were very good Also when your dress ripped JOAN: I think Joe we are both good JOE: calmly We are very good Outdoors the clunk of wood or bones drawing near JOAN: Seems your eye is stuck between three of your ribs JOAN: And I have a tatter of fabric under the sole of your foot JOE: Your eye is twitching JOAN: And we're getting somewhere JOE: I'm getting wet Through the gaps between your ribs it's raining tears down onto mine yes yes it is Joan I think we are getting somewhere. (Schlechte Worter, pp. 125-26)
This text marks a return for Aichinger not only to the content but to the favorite genre of the postwar period, the radio play. The reports of concentration camp survivors, even more than the language and motifs, bring to mind the postwar plays.
The work is hard, it was set up to destroy people. Everything had to happen in a hurry. The food was pitiful, people were flogged while working, every offense however small, every carelessness incurred the threat of being beaten to death. Yes, even without any cause, being beaten to death was a daily occurrence .... 26
Moll was known to almost all the inmates .... There were no bounds to his crudity and cruelty. He struck and tortured inmates under his supervision .... In his hand a thick stick, that was the way Moll would approach us .... (Auschwitz, pp. 35-36)
As Karl Kraus had already observed in "The Third WaIpurgisnacht," beating was a prominent activity of the Nazis.27Breaking the imposed rule of silence could have terrible consequences, mistreatment until death. Following orders, however, did not guarantee anything either.
For several days now the Jews have been sitting here with us in the Zimmerstrasse, the "Clou"-previously a middle class amusement park-Jews waiting to be shipped further. I ascertained just by looking: A truck had just come out. The ... Jews stormed out of the "Clou" at a run as the vehicle arrived and tried to get over the special stools into the vehicle. When about half the Jews were on the truck (it really couldn't go any faster), a civilian came who, with a cigarette in his mouth and swinging a large dog whip, also came running out of the "Clou" and lashed out like a madman at the Jews pushing to get on board. I have to say that among these Jews were Jewesses with small children in their arms.-The sight was degrading and shameful at the same time ...
reported an editor of the SS Command's publication Das Schwarze Korps on 4 March 1943 to the personnel staff of the Reich Leader SS.28 These are typical occurrences about which Aichinger had long remained silent until deciding in the seventies to lend victims of persecution a language in the figures of Joe and Joan-a language beyond physical destruction and loss of identity. Perceived as dolls by those around them, Joe and Joan are the most human figures in a play in which even the indoctrinated children have already been toughened up. Gare Maritime is a return to the starting point-and it is not. There are certain aspects of the play that the young author of 1948 could not have been aware of: the reduction of surviving Nazi war victims to museum pieces, the stubborn denial of the Holocaust even in the light of the facts, the survival of old attitudes in a supposedly new society.29 Unlike the title characters of Herod's Children, Joe and Joan are not historical figures. They are prototypes, the eternally persecuted. And the persecutors are always the same-the result of bitter experiences of the fifties and the sixties, during which Aichinger's misgivings grew into certainties.30
If I spent an evening with German intellectuals, among whom the war- wounded were well represented-almost all had seen active duty at the front as officers-then there was mutual understanding at the beginning; after all, we shared the same misfortune of having lived through Hitler's rise and suffered from its consequences. The more the evening went on, the more communicative they became .... just a little longer, and my guests would have pointed out, not without tactful hesitation, that all in all the Jews in their ghettos and camps had been less badly off than so many German soldiers in the Russian winter.
explains Manes Sperber in his autobiography.31This is not an exceptional experience. Hilde Spiel reported in her generally optimistic essay "I like living in Austria" (although she had meanwhile moved back to London):
I came and regretted it only three times, in each case only for a short time. . . . Twice it was offensive comments made in passing, perpetrated by-why they?-people from the field of fine arts. One was a painter who, in his cups, complained about those returning exiles who were always taking away the authority and assuming the posts and honors of those who had stayed put and had suffered more under the Nazis.... The other was a museum director, badly drunk as well, who under the pretext of sympathy and emphasizing a will to resist those in power on his own part did not hold back antisernitic comments. And finally in 1972 1 was affected by an intrigue of such abominable nature and extent, such a betrayal on the part of contemporaries who had been my friends, that I was distraught for a long time and longed for the integrity, the fairness, the good-will of the English people .... 32
The development of Aichinger's career was symptomatic for other Austrian writers. Paul Celan's early poems The Sand from the Urns contained clear and personal references to the suffering undergone during the terror-the suffering of those who were unjustly persecuted. The public may not have been ready for such a personal revelation, which accounts for Gutersloh's statement to Edgar Jene that "the time for publishing these certainly very talented poems had not arrived."33One can only speculate about what moved the poet to withdraw the anthology published in 1948 by SexI in Vienna and promoted by Jene. The poem "Todesfuge," though completed, had not been included in Sand from the Urns.
Celan's poems were also printed in Otto Basil's Plan-though "Todesfuge" did not appear there either. The poem was published for the first time by the Deutsche Verlagsanstalt in Mohn und Gedachtnis (Poppy and Memory), four years after Celan's emigration to Paris. In the context of Celan's work it is an entirely undisguised text, one that must exercise a realistic effect on survivors or anyone who reads concentration camp reports. Celan brought the ingredients of terror into a very concise formulation. There is the SS man whose whip almost becomes a living entity in the image of the snake during a flogging; he is a person who would seem irreconcilably distant from the man writing letters to his wife at home, if examples of just such horrifying juxtapositions were not well known. Dr. Mennecke, the SS First Lieutenant, wrote to his wife as follows:
... The first day in Buchenwald has ended.... At first there were still about 40 forms to be filled out for a first group of Aryans.... Afterward we examined them till about three o'clock, 105 for me, 78 patients for Muller, so that finally a first batch of 183 forms were completed. As a second group came a total of 1200 Jews who do not all get examined.... (Verwaltete Mensch, p. 247)
Mennecke stated to a friend: "The work is just moving right along because the heads are already accounted for . . . " and he remarked triumphantly to his wife: "Yea! Through with all the forms! Now we can get started on the examinations" and "So, my love, another day is done. I have examined all the men and the Aryan women ...... (Verwaltete Mensch, p. 248)
Celan acutely observes the grotesque role of music in the death camps, the perversion of art which Fania Fenelon has also discussed.34 Details such as the hair of Jewish women immediately turned gray by the poison gas Zyklon B, hair that can be seen in Auschwitz in large quantities because it was too late to move it to its destination as mattress stuffing-such details Celan does not miss.35 The gun ready to fire, the bloodhound, people forced to dig their own graves, people whose gassed corpses are put to the torch-Celan has left nothing out. Loathing and hatred of the German murderers dominates this and his other poems despite the melodies of their language.
Aichinger likewise does not stint on realistic clarity for all her symbolism and musicality of language in Herod's Children; for example, in scenes like the grandmother's suicide.
They come up the stairs, they take three steps at a time-four stepsfive steps- "They're coming to get you, grandmother," Ellen cried out. She stuck her fists in her mouth and bit her fingers. She wanted to have all thoughts at once and had none. The poison on the table glowed insistently... The old woman awoke, sat up and grabbed for it with both hands If they come now, open the door, be polite, say nothing and let everything happen ... .. They will pull you out of bed, grandmother," said Ellen. "My bones-not me!" "They will kick you with their feet when they find out you've taken poison." "Their feet cannot reach me." (Herod's Children, p. 123)
The booted feet, kicking and trampling to death, are of special importance in the documentation that Adler cites as well.36The very footfalls herald the terror:
The tread of boots crushed the gravel, senseless and self-assured as only the tread of the mad can be. Horrified, the children sprang to their feet. The bench tipped over. "Your identification," demanded a voice. "Are you permitted to sit here?" Ellen turned her face to the dark. "Yes" said Georg, petrified with fear. Hanna rummaged through her coat pockets and searched for identification. But she found none. Leon, who was standing outside the circle of light, tried to slip away into the bushes. (Herod's Children, p. 33)
Aichinger and Celan, who had initially articulated the Nazi horror clearly, withdrew into hermetic composition and opacity. It has become commonplace to speak of a crisis of language in connection with the end of the war; the crisis of those who possessed after 1945 no other language but that destroyed by the Nazis and thus had to create anew their means of expression.
There was, however, also the crisis of language on the part of those who, like Canetti and Broch, as older authors had maintained an untainted language but who no longer had a public with whom they could communicate in this language. Inability to continue using one's own language constituted a problem for Broch (whose Death of Vergil first appeared in English), for Arendt (whose analyses of totalitarianism were written in English), for Hilde Spiel (whose novel The Darkened Room [19611 first appeared in English).
The East European Jewish culture that, in spite of hostility and persecution, had attained a degree of freedom and a flowering, especially in Vienna; the culture that, if one gives credence to Wassermann's and Roth's portrayals, had no equal-this culture was destroyed, its leading figures murdered and dispersed.37 Sperber commented, "I was not in Auschwitz, but my relationship to everything Germany had meant to me during long years lies there as in all camps and ghettos, scorned, beaten, gassed, exterminated." (p. 212) Reich-Ranicki made the following claim:
Writers without a home have always been troublesome writers. But these appear doubly troublesome to me: those only half grown when they were driven out and deported, and who began to write only in exile-often at first in a foreign language. The "sensibly designed dwellings of death," to use Nelly Sachs's words, which had been intended for them they had been able to escape, but liberation from the German language proved unattainable for many of them. They can only keep on writing in the language of their infancy and youth. (pp. 32-33)
In the fifties and even more in the sixties documentation about the Nazi atrocities began to appear, giving details about the concentration camps and the organization of the totalitarian state. Notable were books by the two Vienna-born authors Hanna Arendt and H. G. Adler.38The reports of the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem were a culminating point. Literature, however-and the voices of exile are no exception-dealt with this primarily in a ciphered way or, as Vicki Baum had done from the first, as part of "more universal" themes and actions.
In Die Schuldlosen (The Innocents) of 1949 Broch portrayed the indifference, the corruption and brutality that, along with the fascination of evil, were factors contributing to making Nazi rule possible. This was a regime whose leading figures were not some diabolical elite or a dehumanized leader but the lower middle class and public officials as represented by Broch's schoolteacher Zacharias. Broch does not, however, call either National Socialism or Hitler and his clique by name.39 Similar to Broch's is the situation of Canetti who, in his notes before and during the war, collected materials for his major work Masse und Macht (Crowds and Power) of 1960, an encompassing study of mass psychology, mass delusion, and the type of the paranoid leader and his objectives, presented through the most varied historical phenomena-all this without mention of Hitler's name. Only in the later essay of 1971, Hitler nach Speer (Hitler According to Speer), does he examine the Third Reich and bring out, through references to his previous work, the implications of that work as an examination of his own time. But even in the essay Canetti's approach is no more immediate; it is distanced through the medium of the Speer book, which Canetti takes as an occasion for something that is ostensibly a review but actually consists of pronouncements on matters closest to the writer himself. Only in his autobiographical writings Die gerettete Zunge (The Rescued Tongue, 1978) and Die Fackel im Ohr (The Torch in the Ear, 1980) does Canetti give up the medium entirely and introduce himself as the narrative first person of the past, and here he does not keep silent about the sorrows inflicted upon him from childhood on because of his Jewish extraction.
In contradistinction to the caution and indirection of Broch and Canetti, two older, and therefore less "naive," authors, Celan and Aichinger had identified themselves linguistically and thematically with the German-Jewish tradition in their first works. And both younger authors encountered similar misinterpretation. Aichinger's novels were often stubbornly interpreted by German critics as books on the universality of suffering, even to the point of attributing overtones of Christian piety to them.40 This is understandable in part because Christian piety was a fashionable critical notion after the war and was applied as well to authors as disparate as Kleist, Kafka, and Grillparzer. In the case of Aichinger, only a crudely erroneous reading can find positive Christian symbolism in the Christmas scene, an episode of great confusion and danger. On the contrary, the children receive no help from Christianity. The complex of ciphers points away from the star of Bethlehem toward the star of David, the Jewish star that Ellen voluntarily puts on when she decides, as a half Jew herself, in favor of her persecuted Jewish friends and their destiny.
Like Aichinger with her novel, Celan also experienced a very mixed reception. When not entirely rejected by Austrian authors such as Ruhm and the Vienna group, he was still misunderstood. "Nonetheless, what was just coming into fashion as postsurrealism (Paul Celan) we rejected as a symbolically watered down outburst-it was part of setting up a new mythology."41 "Todesfuge" aroused attention, to be sure-but as a linguistic masterwork, and it was interpreted primarily by formal criteria, as Celan's lyric poetry is even today. Thematic details, such as the poetically compressed and yet exact representation of concentration camp life and death, remained largely undiscussed. The specifically Jewish vantage point of Celan's texts was simply not mentioned in criticism.42
Celan's and Aichinger's texts became increasingly hermetic. By the mid- sixties, at the latest, a crisis of language became detectable in both. Much has been written on Celan's silence. Silence, keeping quiet, has been not only identified as a topos in Aichinger, but said to be the reality of her ever more sporadic publications. These are crises arising from the failure of language- Aichinger called it "linguistic discretion"-through conscious or subconscious suppression of one's actual thoughts, concealment of that which is crying out for expression behind what actually can be said, both because of deficiencies inherent in language and also because of other people's refusal to listen.43
Linguistic expression becomes a linguistic blanket over something that is hushed up and finally guarded as a secret. Hence the motifin Celan and Aichinger no less than in Canetti-of silence, speechlessness, of breathing that contains the real truth while the expressible is the market-hawking art of the jokester Valerio in Buchner's Leonce und Lena, quoted by Celan in his Buchner Prize speech.44 It is a silence reminiscent of the silence imposed upon the concentration camp victims-a silence in which one can perish just as one can perish in speaking. Paul Celan, probably the most reserved of the writers cited, committed suicide in Paris in 1970. Aichinger lent insight into the kind of silence involved here in her story "Rachel's Clothes." The female persona can speak of everything: the mass death of the children in a convent, dying in a strange place, the praying of children for an easy death, the misery of a rag picker-but not about a Jewish theme, an inability rooted in the readers as much as in the speaker.
In Celan there is also the crisis arising from the consciousness that what has to be said can only be said in the language of the oppressor, in the language of those with whom the poet does not want to communicate and yet must, since no other poetic language is available to him and his public has been murdered. "Meridian" with its allusions and excessive formulations of hope exemplifies this dilemma.
Without ascribing a stereotypical attitude to all concerned, one can discern signs of linguistic alienation even in authors who had published before the war in Austria and who then went into exile, for example Spiel and Broch, among others. Sperber remarks on this point:
Since it was physically impossible for me to break off with the German language completely, I resolved out of necessity to become a twolanguage writer.... Linguistic bigamy certainly has its advantages, but I don't like it. They are the advantages of a fateful disadvantage: uprootedness. French became my language in that most acutely difficult situation, when I had to be careful not to speak a German word, if for example toward the end of the night the police were to knock on my door, and no cry of pain could be forced out except one in French.... But several years passed before I decided to write in French, since I felt up to that time that which imposed itself upon me in the German language. (pp. 271-72)
Apitz's concentration camp novel Naked Among Wolves (GDR 1958) is a comparatively early publication in the German language about the concentration camp experience; it also deals marginally with Jewish destiny, an issue also treated in critical works as well. The publication of Erich Fried's Ein Soldat und ein Madchen (A Soldier and a Girl, 1961) marks a turning point; it presents the confrontation between a German-Jewish soldier fighting on the side of the Allies and a condemned female concentration camp guard- an attempt to deal with the private dimension of the German-Jewish problem.
Fried's novel is a thought experiment: What would happen if ... ? When the girl in fact chooses the narrator, who along with his comrades has been making teasingly malicious comments to the delinquent woman, the situation changes abruptly. A human situation emerges out of an inhuman one. The men conspire to bring about a night of love. As also in Becker's Jakob der Lugner (Jakob the Liar), the novel dissolves near the end into speculation. There is no denouement, and uncertainty and questions are introduced to maintain the narrative quality so that the erotic situation will not sink into banality. Clearly, Fried does not intend to write Holocaust pornography but is depicting the crass opposition of mass behavior and individual behavior, the contradiction between personal encounter and ideologically motivated behavior, which inhibits the Jewish narrator as much as the former deadly enemy. The question as to whether "punishment" and "retribution" might be inappropriate for the young woman and people like her, whether love and intimacy are not better means for reconciliation, is being raised-a tendency characteristic of the pacifist tenor of Fried's work.45
In 1962 Jakov Lind's Seele aus Holz (Soul of Wood) appeared, and in 1963 his Landschaft in Beton (Landscape in Cement), works that show, as do Hilde Spiel's Lisas Zimmer (Darkened Room) and numerous others, that the examination of the Holocaust and of Nazism had become urgently necessary.46
Bachmann spoke in her uncompleted novel Der Fall Franza (The Franza Case) of "delayed injuries."47 Conceived in the late sixties and early seventies, the work exposed the underground survival of Nazi ideology, revealing fascism as an everyday phenomenon, and showing the effects on the next generation of what has been shrouded in silence.
I finally got sick from it, she thought; then it occurred to her: extermination of undesirable peoples, the extermination, yes direct extermination of undesirable creatures, euthanasia, the mercy killing, 2 ccm of morphium scopolamine. She had discovered Korner in the chapters on the euthanasia program.
The injustice buried in the files affects those who know about it, those who know that it is hidden and that the perpetrators are still living in secret. Bachmann's Franza perishes, decades after 1945, in a Viennese society into whose most private areas fascism has penetrated (see p. 126, for example). Franza, on which Bachmann was working from the late 1960s until her death, was published in 1979.
Until the beginning of the seventies, a process had been unfolding, a process not only of speaking the unspeakable but of speaking it in the face of a public that, openly or covertly, largely condemned calling former Nazi criminals to account and rejected the activities of Simon Wiesenthal and Serge and Beate Klarsfeld as unjustified. (The student movement of 1968 doubtless played a role in this unfolding process, even if only by decisively changing the public and literary climate.) But despite public unwillingness to face these issues, it became ever more difficult to hide from questions and answers of the sort that Aichinger presents in "Rachel's Clothes":
Or do you have any idea why it was that Rachel didn't have her things sent after her? This question is one that 1, if I had not succeeded in avoiding it, could answer negatively. Because I don't have an idea about it. I know it.... Once I had an idea about it, although I already knew it. The idea was terrible. (Schlechte Worter, pp. 52-53)
This story, so preoccupied with the right question, precedes Gare Maritime. Aichinger's next book contained her most personal creations: her lyric poetry from all periods of her writing. These poems, never published until 1978, have a focus like Canetti's Rescued Tongue and Torch in the Ear or Sperber's autobiographical writings. Of the latter, Sperber said:
Between 23 April 1972 and 25 April 1977, 1 dedicated my best hoursoften interrupted by other tasks not to be put off and by many travelsto the memory book All That is Past. There were weeks and months when the past so tyrannically preoccupied me that the present threatened to shrivel up. More than at other times writing became the content of my life. And now, now I am finally supposed to feel free, free of a task that I had taken on, and free in a special sense from "all that is past." The heavy sack I have borne so long on my shoulders has been emptied and disposed of at long last. Still I wait in vain for the feeling that I have gotten rid of it for good. (p. 280)
The broader Western audience also gained more access to the topic of the Holocaust in the seventies: for example, Fenelon's film Playing for Time and the book on which it is based, The Female Orchestra in Auschwitz; the film The Last Stage; and also the popular television film series Holocaust. Films like Sophie's Choice, Entre Nous, and in another class, Jakob the Liar, were well received.48
The vast amount of non-fiction published also proved that the generation after" was demanding to know-small wonder, after a public school education in which contemporary history was taboo for many years and the events of the thirties and forties were either not treated at all or presented without sufficient preparation. It was getting harder to treat the persecution of the Jews as if it had been a natural disaster brought about by supra-human powers; it was becoming ever clearer that ordinary people were the perpetrators of these unimaginable crimes.
Literature was able to introduce the individual and subjective element, whether the genre was eyewitness reports, lyric poetry, diaries, notes, or novels. The repression of this subject in the immediate postwar years was followed, especially in the 1970s and early 1980s, by a flood of publications concerned with the war years and the end of the war. Especially those who were persecuted during that period and who had wanted to distance themselves from it in one way or another, whether through a personally encoded literature, through concentration on the present, or through preoccupation with ,'more neutral" themes, had now committed themselves to looking back. Analytical retrospection was painful:
An unhappy consciousness, an undeniable sense of shared responsibility for the crimes perpetrated in the name of Germany can be found only in men and women who had always been the opponents of Nazism and who had themselves suffered under it. They, the innocents, overcame the feeling of shame about what happened either late or not at all.49
Several generations have been affected by the Nazi period, a fact that can easily be seen in the vital statistics of Broch (b. 1886), Canetti (b. 1905), Urzidil (b. 1896), Adler (b. 1910), Arendt (b. 1906), Spiel (b. 1911), Celan (b. 1920), Aichinger (b. 1921), Fried (b. 1921), Lind (b. 1927), Sperber (b. 1905), among others. Lea Fleischmann's book on her reasons for leaving the Federal Republic makes it clear that the next generation has not escaped the effects of the Nazi past and the Holocaust. Neither this past-many of the authors cited point this out-nor Nazi ideology have been "overcome."50There are tensions and problems that were glossed over up to the end of the 1960s. Reich- Ranicki puts it as follows in his 1970 article:
But since then 25 years have gone by. Why then return to the past? Oh, but not only the past is at stake but something else that obtrudes on our present and needs must do so. (p. 47)
H. G. ADLER: Born Prague 1910. 1941-1945 Theresienstadt and Auschwitz. Since 1947 writer and scholar in London.
ILSE AICHINGER: Born Vienna 1921. Forced labor during World War II. Poet and critic. Lives in Upper Austria and southern Germany.
BRUNO APITZ: Born Leipzig 1900. Member German Communist Party 1927. 1933-1945 concentrations camps (8 years in Buchenwald). Since 1945 journalist and dramatist in East Berlin.
INGEBORG BACHMANN: Born Klagenfurt 1926. Died Rome 1973. Student in Vienna, friend of Celan. After 1953 author and poet. Lecturer in Poetics at University of Frankfurt 1959.
JUREK BECKER: Born Lodz 1937. Childhood in ghettos and camps. Writer, novelist, and filmmaker in East Berlin. Since 1980 in West Berlin.
THOMAS BERNHARD: Born of Austrian descent in Heerlen, the Netherlands, 1931. Writer, critic, essayist. Lives in OhIdorf, Austria.
WOLF BIERMANN: Born Hamburg 1936. Father killed by Nazis. 1953 moved to German Democratic Republic. 1976 returned to Federal Republic of Germany. Lyric poet, songwriter, and performer.
HEINRICH BOLL: Born Cologne 1917. Died 1985. German soldier in World War 11. Since 1951 author. Cofounder of Group 47. Lecturer in Poetics at University of Frankfurt 1964. Nobel Prize 1972.
WOLFGANG BORCHERT: Born Hamburg 1921. Died 1947. German soldier during World War II. Problems with Nazi regime. Lyric poet, dramatist, narrator. Became a symbol of the postwar years.
HERMANN BROCH: Born Vienna 1886. Died New Haven 1951. Business manager until 1928. Exile to the United States 1938. Affiliated with Yale University.
ELIAS CANETTI: Born in Bulgaria 1905. Left Vienna for London exile 1938. Author, scholar, essayist. Nobel Prize 1981.
PAUL CELAN: Born as Paul Antschul in Chernovtsy in the Bukovina (then Romania) 1920. Suicide Paris 1970. Forced labor in Romania during World War 11. 1945-1946 translator in Bucharest. 1947-1948 Vienna. 1968 Paris.
FRANZ THEODOR CSOKOR: Born Vienna 1885. Protested Nazi system at PEN congress 1933. Left Vienna 1938 for Poland, Romania, Yugoslavia, and Italy. 1944 in Rome as Allied employee, working with the BBC. Returned to Vienna 1946.
HEIMITO VON DODERER: Born Weidlingen near Vienna 1896. Died Vienna 1956. Austrian officer in World War I and German officer in World War 11. Briefly member of Nazi party. Novelist and narrator.
GUNTER EICH: Born Lebus an der Oder 1907. Died Gross Gmain 1972. German soldier during World War Il. Author, lyric poet, radio playwriter, narrator. Married Ilse Aichinger 1953.
FANIA FENELON: Born Paris 1922. Arrested as member of the resistance 1943. Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen 1944-1945. Chansoniere after the war. 1966 moved to East Berlin. Returned to France.
LEA FLEISCHMANN: Born in DP camp Fohrenwald, Bavaria, 1947. Native language was Yiddish. Student and teacher in Federal Republic of Germany. Emigrated to Israel 1979.
ERICH FRIED: Born Vienna 1921. Exile to London 1938. Work with BBC until 1968. Extended trips to Vienna and Berlin. Lyric poet and writer.
HERMANN HAKEL: Born Vienna 1911. Free-lance writer since 1933. Emigration to Italy 1939. Inmate in various camps. 1945-1947 Palestine. Editor of Lynkeus. Cultural editor of Judisches Echo.
KARL KRAUS: Born Jicin, Bohemia, 1874. Died Vienna 1936. Editor 1899-1936 of Die Fackel. Dramatist, writer, journalist.
ERNST KREUDER: Born Zeitz 1906. Died Darmstadt 1972. German soldier during World War 11. Author and narrator. Editor of Simplizissimus.
JACOV LIND: Born Vienna 1927. Exile to the Netherlands 1938. In hiding during German occupation. Emigrated to Palestine after the war. Writer and journalist. Lives in London.
HANS MAYER: Born Cologne 1907. Exile to Switzerland 1933. Return to Frankfurt 1945. Professor of German Literature and History in Leipzig 1948. Moved to Federal Republic 1963. Literary critic associated with the Frankfurt school of critical theory.
ELISABETH PLESSEN: Born in Holstein 1944. Lyric poet, novelist, short story writer.
MARCEL REICH-RANICKI: Born in Wloclawek, Poland, 1920. Moved to Berlin 1929. Expelled to Poland 1938. 1940-1943 Warsaw Ghetto. Moved to Federal Republic of Germany 1958. Literary critic. Contributor to Die Zeit. Several times visiting professor in Sweden and the United States. Regular contributor to the Feuilleton of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
HANS-WERNER RICHTER: Born Usedom 1908. Berlin 1927. Paris 1933. German soldier during World War II. Editor (with Alfred Andersch) of Der Ruf. Founder of Group 47.
JOSEPH ROTH: Born Brody 1894. Died 1939. Lived in Vienna. Emigrated to Paris. Novelist with themes from Jewish life in Eastern Europe.
MANES SPERBER: Born in Poland 1905. Member Communist party 1927- 1937. Exile to Paris 1933. Author and director of a publishing house in Paris.
HILDE SPIEL: Born Vienna 1911. Exile to London 1936. Return to Vienna 1946. Cultural correspondent in London until 1963. Several attempts to live in Austria. Writes in English and German.
JACOB WASSERMANN: Born Furth 1873(?). Died Altansee 1934. Author in Munich and Vienna. Editor of Simplizissimus.
HANS WEIGEL: Born Vienna 1908. Exile to Switzerland 1938. Writer, dramatist, theater critic. Promoter postwar Austrian authors. Editor of many series and journals.
PETER WEISS: Born Nowawes near Berlin 1916. Died 1982. Emigration via England to Prague 1934 and via Switzerland to Sweden 1939. Writer and dramatist.
8. For example, Raoul Auernheimer, Das Wirtshaus zur verlorenen Zeit (1948); Felix Braun, Das Licht der Welt (1949); Martha Hofmann, Die Sternenspur (1949) and Persephone (1950); Ferdinand Bruckner, Der Kampf mit dem Engel (1957); Rudolf Kalmar, Land vom Kahlenberg (1946); Theodor Kramer, Wien 1938 (1945); Elisabeth Freudlich, Invasion Day (1948); Hermann Hakel, 1938 bis 1945: Ein Totentanz. Literature cited according to Harry Zohn, Osterreichische Juden in der Literatur (Tel Aviv, 1969).
9. Gerhard Ruhm, Die Wiener Gruppe (Hamburg, 1967), pp. 21 and 26: "Heimito von Doderer, who showed himself as open-minded and benevolent to us, wanted to put his weekly literary page in the 'Vienna Kurier' at our free disposal, but a very responsible editor who by chance caught sight of the proofs pulled them immediately." P. 33: "A certain disquiet made itself felt, . . . we felt cut off here, watching a lost post. Apart from a few printings in periodicals and German anthologies, our unpublished manuscripts piled up in the drawer. We don't have any chance here. Radio, television, and the publishing industry are dominated by an arrogant provincialism."
10. Marlen Haushofer's publisher, for one, demanded that she replace Austrian vocabulary and expressions with High German ones and that she assimilate the linguistic conventions of North German usage.
11. Examples of soldiers seeing themselves as victims abound, e.g., Theodor Plivier, Stalingrad (1949); Hans-Werner Richter, Die Geschlagenen (1949) and Sie fielen von Gottes Hand (1951); Franz Fuhmann, Die Fahrt nach Stalingrad (1953); Hans Helmut Kirst, 08115 (1954).
12. The following paragraph comes from Elisabeth Plessen, Mitteilung an den Adel (Munich, 1979), pp. 236-37, and portrays the situation for a patently fictitious aristocrat: Once he really attempted to create order, it was right after the war. He had returned from a prison camp; the house was full of refugees. . . . At that time he attempted to make clear to himself things about himself and about the Hitler period. Much of what he wrote down is good, well observed, just-and that really scared me-that he never once tried to get to the reasons for things. He tried to be honest with himself-and wound up repeating this horrible, acquired vocabulary, nothing but words from Uhland ballads, the officers' mess, and nationalistic newspapers. He never once noticed, he didn't note this either, that these words suppressed everything that he was trying to do, all his honesty, and at the end everything was just as it had been. He had merely repeated himself.
13. Ruth Gross, Plan and the Austrian Rebirth (South Carolina, 1982), pp. 82 and 114. Group 47 (Gruppe 47): most important postwar literary group. Annual and biannual meetings until 1966. Members included important authors and critics: Walter Jens, Hans Mayer, Marcel Reich-Ranicki, Heinrich Boll, Ingeborg Bachmann, Ilse Aichinger, Paul Celan, Peter Handke, and many others.
17. Elias Canetti, Aufzeichnungen 1942-1948 (Munich, 1965), p. 185. Karl Kraus traced linguistic corruption by imitating Nazi authors and studied the phenomenon of Nazism in "Die dritte Walpurgisnacht," (1933) in his Magie der Sprache (Frankfurt, 1976), pp. 193-96, 199-207. Translations of Canetti: The Human Province, trans. Joachim Neugroschel (New York, 1978), which includes Die Provinz des Menschen: Aufzeichnungen 1942-1948.
21. Ilse Aichinger, "Aufruf zum Mistrauen," Der Plan 1, no. 7 (1946): 588. Also in Aufforderung zum Mistrauen: Literatur, Bildende Kunst, Musik in Osterreich seit 1945, ed. Otto Breicha and Gerhard Fritsch (Salzburg, 1967), p. 10. "Die Vogel beginnen zu singen, wenn es noch finster ist," Freude an Buchern 3-4, no. 1 (1952): 39-40. Hans Weigel, "Das verh5ngte Fenster," Der Plan 1, no. 5 (1946): 397.
25. The anthology Schlechte Worter contains prose pieces and a concluding dramatic piece in the manner of a radio play. The environment evoked in this play, entitled Gare Maritime, resembles that described by Grete Salus among others: "We saw the camp by daylight, lying before us, for the first time. Grey on grey, desolate, barren, it offered itself to our gaze. As far as the eye could see, barracks and barbed wire .... Now there will always be closed blocks, since transports are always arriving, that means that one can only leave the block at roll call . . . " Grete Salus, "Frauen in Auschwitz," in Auschwitz, ed. H. G. Adler (Frankfurt, 1962), p. 121.
26. Adler, ed., Auschwitz, p. 21. "At first the new National Socialist Justice Minister Thierack reached agreement with Himmler, to hand 'asocial elements' from the prisons over to the SS 'to be destroyed through work' . . . " Helmut Krausnick, "Judenverfolgung," Anatomie des SS Staates, vol. 2, ed. Martin Broszat, Hans Adolf Jacobsen, Helmut Krausnick (Munich, 1982), p. 320.
27. Karl Kraus, Magie der Sprache, p. 201: And then this touching inconsistency, not only in the guidelines but also in the adherence to them: when for example a Jew is beaten up on the Spandau bridge because he didn't salute the flag, and another Jew is beaten up in the Friedrichstrasse because his salute insulted German nationhood. Consistent is only the astonishment that, whatever one does, it is not the right thing to do. An SA man beats people up abroad as well: "The perpetrator was immediately arrested and put in jail. As the police took him into custody, he was extraordinarily puzzled, since he had done nothing that was not usual in Germany."
29. The following scene from Plessen, p. 210, presents a recurrent phenomenon: He asked him about his opinion on the mood in the city and what one should think of the students' activities. The man answered goodnaturedly: they belong on the other side of the wall.... Put them in the camps, said the man, that would be best. They ought to go back where they came from.... They ought to keep their mouths shut, they should study. Who is paying for it all, if not us. Gas them.
33. Jerry Glenn, "Paul Celan in Wien," Die Pestsdule: In Memoriam Reinhard Federmann (Vienna, 1977), p. 101. Translations of Celan poems, including those of Mohn und Gedachtnis (Poppy and Memory), can be found in Paul Celan: Poems, trans. Michael Hamburger (New York, 1980). On the interpretation of Celan, ReichRanicki notes: An interpretation of Paul Celan's verses that tries to avoid looking at his Jewishness and at that which he experienced under National Socialist rule, is inconceivable. (p. 49) One of the few critics who have actually taken Celan's background into consideration in assessing the poems is Jerry Glenn, Paul Celan (New York, 1973), and "Nightmares, Dreams and Intellectualization in the Poetry of Paul Celan," World Literature Today (1977): 522-23.
37. Jakob Wassermann, Mein Weg als Jude und Deutscher (Berlin, 1922), p. 102: One matter causes misgivings in me even after a short stay in Vienna. Elsewhere I had cultivated associations with almost no Jews, and only here and there had I ever come upon a Jew where I was living and never had it been emphasized by him or by others that he was a Jew; here it happened that almost everyone with whom I came into intellectual or cordial contact was a Jew. Furthermore, others always emphasized the fact, and the Jews emphasized it themselves. Similar is the case of Joseph Roth, "Juden auf Wanderschaft," Werke in drei Banden, vol. 3 (Cologne and Berlin, 1956), pp. 625-90. Roth portrays the coffeehouse culture of the Jewish quarter of Vienna, the Leopoldstadt, but also its wretchedness and poverty.
38. H. G. Adler, Die verheimlichte Wahrheit (Tubingen, 1958); Die juden in Deutschland (Munich, 1960); Auschwitz (1962); Eine Reise (1962). Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (New York, 1951). Arendt: b. 1906 in Hannover; USA 1941; research director, 1946-1948 executive director, conference on Jewish relations; professor at the New School for Social Research, NY; author of Eichmann in Jerusalem, On Violence, etc.
39. Hermann Broch, Die Schuldlosen (Frankfurt, 1974), pp. 141-72. "Are you a physicist?" The young man shook his head. "A mathematician?" Another shake of the head, as though the question had been unreasonable. "An anti-Semite?" "Not that I know of ... I haven't tried it yet." "It's not something you can try," Zacharias corrected him. "AntiSemitism is a state of Mind." Looking up at him out of the corners of his eyes-for Zacharias was taller than he-the young man smiled. "Are you going to examine me for my state of mind?" It's the same with the Jews; we'd like them well enough if they didn't swagger around like big blonds and take themselves for Godknows-what." Quoted from Hermann Broch, The Guiltless, trans. Ralph Mannheim (Boston and Toronto, 1974), pp. 137-43.
46. 1 intentionally avoid using the misleading term fascism for the situation in Germany and Austria, since the global application glosses over considerable differences between German and, for example, Italian politics. Different from Italy, for example, one of the countries to which Hitler wanted to export his antisemitism, is the function of antisernitism as the main pillar of the NSDAP program: Point 4: Only he can be a citizen who is of our people; only he can be of our people who is of German blood without regard to religion. No Jew can therefore be of our people. 226 Dagmar C. G. Lorenz Point 5: He who is not a citizen shall only be able to live in Germany as a guest and must stand under provisions of the law with regard to aliens. (1920 party program of the National Socialist German Workers Party). Quoted in Eugen Kogon, SS Staat, vol. 2, p. 255.
49. The writer continues: I have already mentioned that every stay in occupied Germany depressed me, that I no longer desired to identify myself with the occupiers, and all the less with those who were being occupied. The feeling of being at home engendered by the common language stood-apart from rare exceptions-in direct opposition to the unsettling certainty that only one year before I would have been surrendered on account of my being Jewish to a horrible destiny. Most of the men and women I encountered would have indifferently or eagerly done what was necessary to make sure I did not escape this fate .... (Sperber, p. 264) Erich Fried, Hore Israel (Frankfurt, 1983), wrote the following in his 1974 introduction to the problems under discussion: After the Germans marched into Vienna in 1938, which transformed me from an Austrian schoolboy into a persecuted Jew, and after the murder of my-apolitical-father by Gestapo officers, I took it upon myself, if I could stay alive, to do what my father had vainly wanted to do for the last twelve years of his life-become a writer. I wanted to write against fascism, racism, oppression and the ostracism of innocent people.... After 1945 it became clear that the struggle I had undertaken had to be carried on after the fall of the Third Reich wherever similar patterns of behavior appeared. (p. 11).
50. Lea Fleischmann, Dies ist nicht mein Land (Hamburg, 1980), p. 250, writes: Today I gave notice. I gave notice of my retirement from the service of the German people. The end of a German official.... If I ever teach again, then not at a German school. I will not listen to any more handy phrases showing such understanding of foreigners and Jews, nor will I harbor any sympathy for the schoolchildren; I do not want to teach the German people anything, and I don't want to change them. For five years my mother lived among the Germans, and for five years I have lived with them. That is enough. The extent to which the "past" is not pass6 is evident in the activities of international and national antisernitic organizations; for example, the "Institute for Historical Review" in Torrance, California, and the book they promote by Charles E. Weber, The "Holocaust": 120 Questions and Answers, which denies the persecution of the Jews.