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This volume is the first comprehensive single study of Jewish themes in any of the post-1945 German literatures. It presents literature on Jewish themes by Jewish and non-Jewish authors in the cultural, social and political context of the Soviet Zone/GDR during the entire 45 years of its history from 1945 to 1990. It offers a brief history of Jews in the GDR, before looking, in four chronologically ordered chapters, at the history of publishing on Jewish themes in the GDR. Some 28 texts by 19 different authors, including Anna Seghers, Stephan Hermlin, Arnold Zweig, Franz Fühmann, Johannes Bobrowski, Jurek Becker, Stefan Heym, Günter Kunert, Christa Wolf and Helga Königsdorf, are then singled out for closer analysis.
Such themes as historical anti-Semitism, the Holocaust, Jewish resistance, Jewish assimilation, Heine, Marx, Moses Mendelssohn, Jewish survival, and Jews in the GDR are all discussed in the book. The volume also offers evidence of the political influences on publishing on Jewish themes at various stages in the GDR's history. In addition, a structured bibliography of some 1100 items is offered, approximately 750 of which were published in the GDR with a Jewish content or theme. The study should be of interest to students of contemporary German literature and politics, the GDR, and of Jewish studies in the wider context.