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The Jewish Return to Germany

  • Pascale R. Bos
Part of the Studies in European Culture and History book series (SECH)

Abstract

In 1947, Grete Weil-Dispeker returned to Germany after a twelve-year absence. Having lived in exile in Amsterdam since December 1935 (spending September 1943 to May 1945 in hiding), now 41 years old and a widow, she was eager to return. For as she saw it, the mood in Germany befit her own. After having briefly visited Sweden and Switzerland immediately after the war, she realized that she could not feel at home there, as people had little awareness of the immense suffering caused by the Nazis: “In both countries, I conclude that I cannot live among people who have experienced nothing or almost nothing.”1 Having been an eyewitness to the deportation of the Dutch Jews, having lost her husband (who was killed in Mauthausen), having lived under the threat of murder herself, she was unable to just return to normalcy: “I couldn’t have returned in ‘45 to an intact country, it would have made me furious…”2 Instead, she felt that the defeated, divided, bombed-out German nation was as destroyed as she was: “The ruins? They suited me, not only the German cities had been ruined by war, I had been, too.”3

Keywords

Nazi Regime Cultural Climate Occupied Zone Jewish Survivor Jewish Victim 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 40.
    Jeffrey Herf, Divided Memory: The Nazi Past in the Two Germanys ( Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997 ).Google Scholar
  2. 42.
    Andrei S. Markovits, Beth Simone Noveck, and Carolyn Höfig, “Jews in German Society,” The Cambridge Companion to Modern German Culture, ed. Eva Kolinsky and Wilfried van der Will ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998 ) 97.Google Scholar
  3. 43.
    Ernestine Schlant, The Language of Silence: West German Literature and the Holocaust ( New York: Routledge, 1999 ) 38.Google Scholar
  4. 46.
    Juliane Wetzel, “Trauma und Tabu: Jüdisches Leben in Deutschland nach dem Holocaust,” Ende des Dritten Reiches-Ende des Zweiten Weltkriegs: Eine perspektivistische Rückschau, ed. Hans-Erich Volkmann ( München: Piper, 1995 ) 440.Google Scholar
  5. 49.
    Wolfgang Benz, “The Persecution and Extermination of the Jews in the German Consciousness,” Why Germany? National Socialist Anti-Semitism and the European Context, ed. John Milfull ( Providence: Berg, 1993 ) 94.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Pascale R. Bos 2005

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  • Pascale R. Bos

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