By Steven E. Aschheim
This ebook revolves round the complex interaction among tradition and disaster. It seeks to interact a number of the variations, the complexity and the unresolved dimensions of this connection, specially because it pertains to the origins, disposition and aftermath of nationwide Socialism. It examines a variety of German and Jewish responses to Nazism and its roots, and demonstrates the continuing relevance of that have to modern tradition and collective and person self-definitions.
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Extra resources for Culture and Catastrophe: German and Jewish Confrontations with National Socialism and Other Crises
50 Bloch's entire oeuvre can be regarded as a sustained meditation on the vibrant and radiant possibilities of an 'atheistic messianism' 51 and eschatological hope as an a priori of human existence, culture and politicsY As we have seen, Rosenzweig was also acutely aware of the messianic dimension, rendering the Jews its realization within premessianic historical time. 53 Scholem's brilliant sensitivity to its internal dynamics is well-known. He did, after all, later become the primary incisive analyst of the paradoxical dialectics inherent in the messianic- and related apocalyptic- idea.
Walter Benjamin (1940)3 Finally the pride of being Jewish has awoken. It stirs within us restlessly ... Ernst Bloch (1918)4 Over the past few years there has emerged a rather persuasive paradigm delineating the distinctive qualities of the modern German-Jewish experience. As expounded by David Sorkin' and especially George Mosse in his German Jews Beyond Judaism, 6 it holds that in the course of the special protracted circumstances underlying their emancipation and acculturation German Jewry forged what has to be understood as an essentially new (and indeed unique) form of Jewish identity and culture.
By no means yet the conventional wisdom, these critical incursions are receiving more and more attention. In our context perhaps the most telling example is to be found in the work of the avant-garde Acco Theatre Group. The title of a recent film documenting their activities- 'Don't Touch My Holocaust' -points to their explicit highlighting and challenging of what they take to be the self-righteous, sacrosanct, indeed, taboo status of the Shoah within Israeli society. ' A group of players (given the extra-theatrical setting, the audience is never sure whether or not it is being engaged by 'real' people or actors) puts the participating viewer through an extraordinary emotional roller-coaster, exposing the omnipresent uses, exploitation and cliches ofHolocaust appropriation within Israeli society and the Israeli psyche.
Culture and Catastrophe: German and Jewish Confrontations with National Socialism and Other Crises by Steven E. Aschheim