Page 30 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 24

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2 2
e w i s h
o o k
n n u a l
only, are Soma Morgenstern’s biblical novel of the Holocaust,
Die Blutsaule
(Statue of Blood), the late Nicholas L o th a r’s no t
very credible
Der R ich ter und die Sohne
(The Judge and His
Sons), to name some of the more recent. These novels obviously
are different in interest and tone and merit entirely separate
T o sum up, the Jew is anonymous in contemporary German
fiction; he is a symbol, devoid of flesh and blood, a victim before
the German executioners and silent witnesses. T h e authors are
aware tha t in the a ttitude toward the past, the tendency to be
reticent on it or to find worthless, empty excuses, lies the key
to the German future. In general, the writers are too full of
their subject to treat it well in terms of art, bu t moral chaos lends
itself little to artistic treatment. T h e authors appear fu r the r aware
tha t the collective guilt with which some non-Germans have
saddled Germany in postwar years is beyond comparison with
the collective guilt which their leaders heaped upon Jews for
the purpose of destroying them. German literature today tends
to view the Jew with awe and reverence, as a non-human or
supra-human figure. Increasingly there is evidence of little phys­
ical contact with Jews which is at least partly responsible for the
symbolification. Whereas such popu lar media as comic strips,
newspaper feuilletons, and the like, have no t shown this ten­
dency, the overwhelming majority of serious German writers
wants to face the past, in justice to Jews, b u t even more for the
sake of their own personal and national future.