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Malaise In The Alsatian Countryside

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Chapter Summary

The Alsatian countryside with its quaint appearance and timeless air is a striking contrast to the 'capital of Europe'. The malaise which sustains the extreme right vote goes back to the history of the relationship between the Alsatians and 'their' Jews. The experience of rural Judaism was reduced to a mere parenthesis during which the Jews made the Alsatian villages their dormitory towns. The war period constitutes a black hole which the idealisation of a past shared with the Jews cannot mask and about which the denial is strong. There is no end to the way in which the 'outsider', be he Jew, gipsy or Muslim crystallises the identity crisis in the region. The persistence of a malaise contrasts with the 'myth of living together' in 'beautiful Alsace'. It provides a particularly favourable breeding ground for political exploitation.

Keywords: Alsatian countryside; Jews; malaise; rural Judaism



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