German Jews and the Persistence of Jewish Identity in Conversion: Writing the Jewish Self by Angela Kuttner Botelho
Writing the Jewish Self explores the fraught aftermath of the German Jewish conversionary experience through the story of one family as it grapples with the meaning of its Jewish origins in a post-Holocaust, post-conversionary milieu. Utilizing archival family texts and multiple interviews spanning three generations, beginning with the author’s German Jewish parents, 1940s refugees, and engaging the insights of contemporary scholars, the book traces the impact of a contested Jewish identity on the deconstruction and reconstruction of the Jewish self. The Holocaust as post-memory and the impact of the German Jewish culture personified by the author’s parents leads to a retrieval of a lost Jewish identity, postmodern in its implications, reinforcing the concept of Judaism as ultimately a family affair. Focusing on the personal to illuminate a complex historical phenomenon, this book proposes a new cultural history that challenges conventional boundaries of what is Jewish and what is not.
Year first published: 2021