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Wolfgang Hildesheimer and the German-Jewish Experience: Reflections on "Tynset" and "Masante"
Henry A. Lea
Vol. 71, No. 1 (Spring, 1979), pp. 19-28
Published by: University of Wisconsin Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30165191
Page Count: 10
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In two works of narrative prose Wolfgang Hildesheimer deals autobiographically with the exile experience. Born in Germany in 1916, he left in 1933, returned in 1947 and left again in 1957. Writing outside of Germany, he uses various geographic points to reflect on his homelessness and zero in on Germany. For the first-person narrator West Germany and Austria remain unregenerately anti-Semitic. In an archetypal German city he feels trapped by the threatening looks of the people and the chauvinistic street names. In this scene he identifies himself as a Jew. He leaves Germany again but keeps a record of the persecutors. Using Germanic-sounding names, Hildesheimer evokes an atmosphere of fascist terror that divides mankind into pursuers and victims. Ending with the narrator's disappearance in a desert in Israel, at the end of Masante, the two books record the odyssey of a German Jew who can't go home again.
Monatshefte © 1979 University of Wisconsin Press