Exorcizing the Stranger: The ‘Daughter of Germany’ in the Contemporary Jewish Imagination

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Abstract

n his 1982 short-story “Bedbugs,” the British Jewish author Clive Sinclair relates
how his fictional alter-ego Joshua dreams of avenging himself on German students at a Cambridge summer school by rubbing their noses in Nazi atrocities. His inspiration comes from an entry in Chaim Kaplan’s Warsaw Ghetto diary that reacts to a particularly vicious Nazi reprisal killing of Jews by quoting
Psalm 137:9: “Daughter of Germany! Blessed is he who will seize your babes
and smash them against the Rock.” The story concludes with the narrator playacting his subconscious feelings of desire and revenge: “Daughter of Germany!” I scream. “Daughter of Germany! I shoot at her until the gun is empty.” Intaking up the Warsaw diarist’s curse of the Daughter of Germany, Sinclair’s fictional persona assuages his guilt for his illicit desire for a German woman and his willing complicity in her seduction. (from the article)
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Stranger in Early Modern and Modern Jewish Tradition
EditorsCatherine Bartlett
Place of PublicationLeiden
PublisherBrill Academic Publishers
Chapter11
Pages176-201
Number of pages25
Volume67
ISBN (Electronic)9789004435469
ISBN (Print)9789004435452
StatePublished - 15 Jul 2021

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