Home after Fascism
Italian and German Jews after the Holocaust
Published by: Indiana University Press
Home after Fascism draws on a rich array of memoirs, interviews, correspondence, and archival research to tell the stories of Italian and German Jews who returned to their home countries after the Holocaust. The book reveals Jews' complex and often changing feelings toward their former homes and highlights the ways in which three distinct national contexts—East German, West German, and Italian—shaped their answers to the question, is this home?
Returning Italian and German Jews renegotiated their place in national communities that had targeted them for persecution and extermination. While most Italian Jews remained deeply attached to their home country, German Jews struggled to feel at home in the "country of murderers." Yet, some retained a sense of belonging through German culture and language or felt attached to a specific region or city. Still others looked to the future; socialist and communists of Jewish origin hoped to build a better Germany in the Soviet Occupied Zone. In all three postwar states, surviving Jews fought against persistent antisemitism, faced the challenge of recovering lost homes and possessions, struggled to make sense of their persecution, and tried to find ways to reclaim a sense of belonging.
Wide ranging and moving, Home after Fascism enriches our understanding of Jews' homecoming experiences after 1945. It reveals the deep affection and persistent love people feel for their homes, the suffering that comes with losing them, and the challenges of a return.
1. Returning Home?
2. Entangled Memories
3. Reclaiming Home
"Anna Koch has written a fascinating and differentiated account of the German and Italian Jews who returned to their homelands after World War Two. Closely based on memoirs and archival documentation, Home after Fascism lucidly explores how German and Italian Jews had to redefine notions of home in order to find a place in the countries which had persecuted them."~Bill Niven, Professor Emeritus of Contemporary German History, Nottingham Trent University
"At once expansive and intimate, Home After Fascism provides a meticulously researched history of the difficulties Jews faced as they tried to recreate their lives immediately after the Holocaust in the very countries that persecuted them. Grounding the study within the distinct memory cultures of Italy, East Germany, and West Germany, Anna Koch's brilliant book is a must read, interrogating how fresh memories of murder and betrayal clashed with individuals' sense of attachment to a language, a place, and a homeland. "~Marion Kaplan, author Hitler's Jewish Refugees: Hope and Anxiety in Portugal
"What is the meaning of home for people whose homes have been violently destroyed? Using a wealth of primary sources including letters, diaries, memoirs, and oral testimonies, Anna Koch draws on cutting-edge research in memory studies and the history of emotions to bring to life in vivid detail how German and Italian Jews renegotiated the meaning of 'home' in the aftermath of the Holocaust. Carefully researched and brilliantly argued, Home After Fascism is an important and compelling work."~Emiliano Perra, author of Conflicts of Memory: The Reception of Holocaust Films