Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Thomas Mann, Blood of the Wälsungs, German Jewish life

Interesting. Reading a selection from the novel "Blood of the Wälsungs" by Thomas Mann that takes place in the context of German Jewish life in the early 20th century. A vanished world. It seems to me that, in a way, the retreat of people to Israel after the Holocaust, as opposed to say, the United States, is in a way an admission of defeat, one that's not necessary. The Nazis no doubt would have liked nothing more than to have everyone believe the notion that people who are Jewish can only live in a country controlled by them alone.

I can understand not wanting to live in the place where you were persecuted and your family was killed, but in my opinion the concept that people who are Jewish will only find peace in a country controlled by themselves does not follow. German Jewish life, as well as Jewish life in other countries in Europe, looks to have been very rich and creative, and was no doubt a synthesis of both mainstream European and Jewish traditions.

I say this as someone who, despite his slavic last name, is not Jewish, and who is pretty darned Americanized.

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