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This thesis explores constructions of identity in contemporary German literature that move beyond a binary of victims (Jews) and perpetrators (ethnic Germans). Migration to Germany by Jews from the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, as well as generational distance from the Holocaust, complicate this binary. As such, I examine the implications of stumbling into a state-sanctioned discourse of atonement and victimization. I reflect on new expressions of identity that Jewish migrants shape from their disparate backgrounds and experiences. In three contemporary works, I study the following elements of identity construction: the role of the mother tongue in the cultivation of cultural homogeneity, memory, and linguistic incapacity to narrate the layered traumas of migration. This project challenges canonical conceptualizations of Germanness and offers a glimpse of a more vibrant transnational, intercultural, and multilingual present.
Available for download on Monday, December 16, 2024