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Jean Améry Cultural Exile, Homelessness and Jewish Solidarity

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores how Jean Améry located himself in the context of German-Jewish relations, and how he interpreted his attachment to German culture and to Jews. Secondly, it is interested in the implications of this self-definition for discussions of contemporary Jewish identity and current Jewish-non-Jewish relations in Germany. Améry felt trapped by his Jewishness which was forced on him by being a victim of the Holocaust. Yet, at the same time, he voluntarily adopted it as his self-definition and affirmed his Jewishness as an identification of solidarity with Jews all over the world and in particular with those in the State of Israel. He perceived the fact of being violently expelled from his home by representatives of the society he identified with and then having to live in a different cultural context as causing the irretrievable loss of his entire cultural system of reference.

Keywords: cultural system; German-Jewish relations; Holocaust; Israel; Jean Améry



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