Political Inscription, Artistic Reflection: A Recontextualization of Contemporary Viennese-Jewish Literature

by Matti Bunzl
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Political Inscription, Artistic Reflection: A Recontextualization of Contemporary Viennese-Jewish Literature
Author:
Matti Bunzl
Year: 
2000
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The German Quarterly
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73
Issue: 
2
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163
End Page: 
170
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English
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Abstract:

MATTIBUNZL

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Political Inscription, Artistic Reflection:
A Recontextualization of Contemporary
Viennese- Jewish Literature

As American and German literary scholars have begun to document in the course of the last few years, a small but vi- brant Viennese-Jewish literary scene has developed during the late 1980s and '90s.' An aesthetically heterogeneous conglom- erate united around such political issues as Vergangenheitsbewaltigung and the fight against anti-Semitism and racism, the group includes the writers Robert Schin- del, Ruth Beckermann, Doron Rabinovici, and Robert Menasse, as well as more mar- ginal figures such as Anna Mitgutsch, Elfriede Jelinek, and George Tabori. As a collective, these writers have produced a corpus of critical Jewish interventions that have resonated within and beyond Aus- tria's literary fields. What has been insuffi- ciently appreciated in much of the literary criticism devoted to the emerging scene, however, is the larger social and cultural context from which it emerged. In light of this lacuna, I propose to undertake a his- torical and cultural recontextualization of the current movement-an analytic move that is intended to supplement the avail- able readings of contemporary Austrian- Jewish literary formations with an inter- pretation of some of the larger frames un- derwriting their emergence. Before I pro- ceed, I should make clear that in making this argument, I am not insistingon the an- alytic primacy of cultural over literary con- siderations. Rather, I am proposing a dia- lectical model that understands literary production as a constitutive function of various social and cultural fields-a situa

tion that not only renders contextual inter- pretation an integral part of literary analy- sis, but allows for the mobilization of liter- ary texts in larger historical arguments. It is in the latter sense that I will close this essay by suggesting that contemporary Viennese-Jewish literature serves as one marker of a transition from modernity to postmodernity in Austrian-Jewish existence.

Viennese Contexts

Over the last few years, Vienna's socio-cultural fields have been thoroughly transformed. Until well into the 1980s, the city had retained the oppressive charms marking its gradual restoration in the wake of World War 11's devastation. While efforts at rebuilding the war-torn city had been highly successful, the resultingurban landscape functioned more like a museum commemorating the imperial capital's for- mer splendor than as the site of vibrant so- cial spheres. While other European me- tropolises boasted political diversity and radical cultural scenes, Vienna was charac- terized by the sheer conventionality of its provincialism-a situation that reproduced the Holocaust's catastrophic logic of cultural homogeneity.

In regard to the intrinsically compro- mised Jewish presence in post-Holocaust Vienna, this publicly-enforced national and cultural homogeneity rendered Jews the object of ongoing forms of symbolic vio-

The German Quarterly 73.2 (Spring 2000) 163

lence. For in their position as actual victims of Nazi aggression, Jews signified the in- herent instability of postwar Austria's "founding mythv-the notion that the country had been a victim of Nazi aggres- sion rather than a co-perpetrator ofthe Ho- locaust. It was this symbolically volatile situation that required the Jews' collectiv- ized removal from public consciousness. Transported through governmental non- intervention, hostile bureaucracies, and other unofficial channels refracting the country's widespread anti-Semitic senti- ments, this violence enforced an accom- modationist stance marked by Jews' re- treat into a private sphere of non-threaten- ing differen~e.~

As Ruth Beckermann has noted in recalling her Jewish childhood in 1950s Vienna:

Wir lebten in Wien, doch kam man fast ausschlie~3lich mit Juden zusammen. Mit ihnen feierte man Gerburtstage und judi- sche Feste, verbrachte man Sonntage und Ferien. Es war so, als wurde uns, den Kin- dern der lherlebenden, mitten im aster- reich der funfziger Jahre ein vergangenes und fernes ~sterreich vermittelt, das vor allem in der Literatur der Welt von ge- stern vorkam. In der Gegenwart war es ein Ort, auf den man sich nicht einliek3

Throughout the first four decades of the Second Republic, Vienna's Jewish popula- tion of slightly less than 10,000 remained essentially invisible, self-censoring their individual profiles to conform to Austrian hegemonies that demanded their constitu- tive absence in the country's public and semi-public spheres. This postwar pattern of a strictly privatized Austrian-Jewish identity was exemplified axiomatically by Bruno Kreisky, one of the most influential politicians of the Second Republic and the country's chancellor from 1970 to 1983.4 An assimilated Jew who had survived the Nazi terror in Swedish exile, Kreisky adapted his subject position to postwar Austria's imagined community, continu- ally playing down the relevance of his Jew- ishness in order to emphasize his unquali- fied belonging to an Austrian nation fig- ured as inherently anti-fascist. While repeatedly attacked by his political oppo- nents through recourse to stereotypes of anti-Semitic Otherness, Kreisky maintained his ethnically unmarked self-styling to great political effect, a situation that provided a highly publicized model for the enforced retreat of Jewish difference into a private sphere.

The oppressive atmosphere of postwar Austria also thwarted the re-emergence of a vibrant Jewish literary scene. Given the realities of anti-Semitism, along with a socio-cultural field grounded in the found- ing myth of the country's victimization at the hand of Nazi aggression, few of the au- thors who had survived the Shoah even contemplated a return to Austria.5 Those who did were faced with a situation that re- quired the violent demand for Jewish ac- quiescence to the state's master narrative. Only a small number of Jewish writers, Hans Weigel and Friedrich Torberg most prominent among them, conformed to this ~cenario.~

Much like Kreisky, they com- partmentalized their Jewish identities in an overtly accommodationist manner, avoiding the discussion of contemporary Jewish existence. In its stead, they fol- lowed Kreisky's example, submerging the particularism of postwar Jewish experi- ence in the interest of a newly imagined Austrian nationness. In this regard Weigel styled himself as a Kraussian Sprach- purist-the protector of an ethnically un- marked German. Torberg similarly acted as a guardian of Austrian nationness. An author of numerous short stories, some of which thematized a quaint, trans-histori- cal and thereby non-threatening Jewish culture, he led the postwar boycott of Ger- man playwright Bertolt Brecht, thereby safeguarding the Austrian state from an imagined communist infiltration. Much like Kreisky, Weigel and Torberg were ulti- mately granted something in the manner of a provisional standing within the imag- ined community of post-World War I1 Aus- tria, serving the state's culture industry as convenient proof for the "successful" rein- tegration of Jewish BmigrBs.

If the first four decades ofAustria's Sec- ond Republic were characterized by the ab- sence of Jews in Vienna's public sphere, the late 1980s and '90s saw a momentous change. In the context of Vienna's inter- nalization (the United Nations had estab- lished a headquarters there in 1979)' Jews began to assert a public identity, a process signified most prominently by the creation of several institutions designed to effect the affirmative anchoring of Vienna's Jew- ish population in the city's cultural geogra- phy. In particular, the founding ofvienna's Jewish Museum in 1990, the creation in 1992 of annual Judische Kulturwochen, the concurrent inception of the Judisches Strdenfest, and the opening of a Jiidi- sches Institut fur Erwachsenenbildung in 1997 all signaled a new public self-under- standing on the part of the city's Jewish community. In the final analysis, it was this self-understanding that was at once mir- rored and reproduced in the emergence of the Jewish literary scene.

Waldheim and the Aftermaths

The ethnographic realities of Viennese Jews' newly publicized self-understanding had their institutional roots in reactions to the Waldheim affair. For it was in the ex- plicit wake of the political events of 1986 that the city's Jewish community and its political representative, the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde (IKG), sought to articu- late a self-consciously autonomous Jewish public sphere-a sphere where the consti- tutive erasure of Jewish experience could be overcome through the deliberate cre- ation of affirmative spaces of Jewish differ- en~e.~

Spearheaded by a generation of Jew- ish representatives born after the Holo- caust, this new political orientation of the IKG broke sharply with the postwar status quo of Austrian-Jewish politics. Cham- pioned by loyalists to the country's politi- cal parties, that status quo had been marked by a pervasively accomodationist stance vis-a-vis Austria's Second Republic and its persistent anti-Semitism. In this mode, the representatives of Vienna's Jew- ish community had sought to garner sup- port from the state in exchange for non- confrontational behavior. In the cultural realities of political practice, this position had surfaced in a narrow focus on religious administration, a situation that resulted in the close circumscription of the IKG's so- cial profile. It was in this sense that the IKG sought to ensure tolerance for post- war Austria's Jews by aiding and abetting their violent erasure from public consciousne~s.~

But while the IKG had eschewed the creation of autonomous Jewish spheres in light of persistent Austrian anti-Semitism, it was ultimately the cultural logic of the country's founding myth that engendered the ongoingreproduction of Jewish victim- ization. For, in light of postwar Austria's reluctance to accept any responsibility for the Holocaust, the country's Jews were forced into a persistent pattern of defen- sive identification as the Third Reich's genuine victims-a process that found its political articulation in the IKG's ongoing attempts to secure a settlement with the country's government. In this situation, Austria's unwillingness to offer restitution to Jewish survivors of the Holocaust ulti- mately prevented the very normalization of Austrian-Jewish relations posited by ideology of the Stunde Null.9

Ultimately, the Waldheim affair of 1986 exemplified and reproduced the cultural abjection and constitutive silencing of Austria's Jewish population. After all, Waldheim's candidacy and his eventual election to Austria's highest office reified the conceptual dichotomy between the proponents and opponents of Vergangen- heitsbewaltigung, thereby effectively un- dermining the Jewish community's ability to articulate an autonomous stance.1° IKG's response to the Waldheim affair had been muted for this very reason. To the or- ganization's leadership, it had seemed more prudent to follow a strategy of non-partisanship in the hope that a low profile would aid the country's progressive forces.ll

For a younger generation of politically active Jews, however, such concessions to Austria's realpolitik had become unaccept- able. They, too, had read the Waldheim af- fair as the perpetuation of the Second Re- public's status quo. In contrast to their el- ders, however, they were unwilling to aid its ready reproduction through a strategy of enforced appeasement. Having been born after the Holocaust and having grown up with the security of Israel's existence, they were ready and willing to articulate a Jewish subject position outside and inde- pendently of the conceptual boundaries of postwar Austria's political field. In the con- text of Waldheim's Austria, this meant a refusal of the prestructured victim role in favor of an emphasis on cultural work and social agency. Rather than deploying a meek rhetoric of political representation that reproduced the constitutive erasure of Jewish experience, this new generation championed the public creation of autono- mous spaces as the most viable means of af- firmative subjectification.

In the course of the late 1980s, this cul- tural agenda came to predominate the IKG, and it stood at the basis of the radical shift in Austrian-Jewish politics. As the champions of Vienna's Judische Kultur- wochen and the Judisches Stral3enfest put it, there was a need to "present the cultural accomplishments of Vienna's Jews more effectively and to a broader public."l2 But the desire to showcase Jewish achieve- ments to Austria's wider populace was not the only motivation for the creation of these cultural institutions. Just as impor- tant was the internal dynamic of Jewish "Selbstdarstellung." It was in this sense that the Jewish culture festival was sup- posed to create a site of affirmative Jewish expression-a space that would allow Jews to document and recognize their cultural prowess at the very moment of its articula- tion.

Within the week-long Jewish culture festival, it has been the annual Jiidisches Strdenfest that has transported this plat- form most dramatically. Held for the first time on May 17, 1992, the day-long event takes place in the streets surrounding Vi- enna's main synagogue in the first district. A host of culinary attractions and eight hours of musical programming has drawn audiences of over 10,000 people. And for the many thousand Jews who have at- tended the event over the last years, it has articulated an unprecedented cultural logic. In its public figuration of Jewish cul- ture as integral to the city's topography, the street fair transports a vision of pub- licly affirmative Jewish difference-the very vision that stands at the heart of the new Jewish autonomy.13

The Literary Field

The developments in Vienna's Jewish literary field of the late 1980s and '90s were ultimately a function of the same cultural processes that were to foster a newly public and autonomous subjectivity among the Jewish population at large. Much like the rest of Vienna's Jewish citizens, the city's Jewish writers began in the late 1980s to assert their Jewishness as the constitutive feature of their identity, literary and other- wise. But while the emergence of affirma- tive Jewish subjectivities at large marked a mode of resistance against postwar Aus- tria's most powerful hegemonies, Vienna's Jewish writers also needed to emancipate themselves from the ideologies of the coun- try's new left. After all, for most of Aus- tria's Jewish writers and intellectuals born in theyears after 1945, it had been the con- tact with the new left that had initially al- lowed them to transcend their parents' "ghetto-existence."14 But while the inter- nationalism of the student movement and the new left allowed the integration into an avowedly anti-fascist Austrian collectivity, it came at the cost of continued self-censor- ship in regard to the question of Jewish dif- ference. As Beckermann has put it:

Die Zeit um 1968war giinstig fur vielerlei Illusionen gewesen. Die Allianz mit der neuen Linken schien tragfahig, war sie doch auf einen gemeinsamen Antifaschis- mus gegrundet. In einem Akt, dessen Ge- walt und Strenge uns imponierte, bra- chen unsere neuen Freunde mit ihren Nazi-Eltern, und wir waren voller Nalvi- tat bereit, uns akzeptiert und zuhause zu fiihlen. Dabei merkten wir nicht, daJ3 wir schon lange und schon wieder einen Teil von uns abspalteten. Wir verschwiegen nicht, daJ3 wir Juden sind, wir sprachen nur nie davon.15

This situation only began to change in the 1980s when a number of Jewish intellectu- als gradually abandoned the compulsory universalism of Austria's new left to assert and articulate a distinct Jewish subject po- sition. In some ways this change was brought upon by the dramatic decline of the new left itself (which had its heyday in the anti-nuclear-power struggle of 1978).

More important and in line with the Jewish population at large, however, was the string of political and cultural debates that brought Austria's Vergangenheitsbewaltigung into ever sharper relief, the Waldheim affair most central among themU1"n many ways, it was Waldheim's very embodiment of Austria's founding myth that forcefully reminded Jewish writers of their particularity. For Wald- heim's sincere inability to recognize the in- congruence between the foundationalist anti-fascism of postwar Austria, on the one hand, and his insistence that serving in the German Wehrmacht had only constituted the fulfillment ofhis duty, on the other, was at the heart of the frustration Jews con- stantly experienced in their dealings with "normal" Austrians.17 After all, it was the very unwillingness of Austrians to recog- nize Austrian complicity-and by exten- sion Jewish suffering-that left Jews as the abjectly silenced Other, unable to artic- ulate difference without threatening the social contract upholding the homogenei- ties of Austrian nationness.

Robert Schindel's biography is an axi- omatic instantiation of this collective de- velopment.ls Schindel was born in April 1944 in a small town in Upper Austria as the son of Jewish communists who fought in the Austrian resistance. Shortly after his birth, his parents were deported to the camps where his father was murdered in 1945. The infant Schindel was rescued, survivingunder a false name, a supposedly Catholic child. After the war, he was re- united with his mother, who resettledinvi- enna. Active in communist youth organi- zations during high school and further rad- icalized in 1968 while a student at the University of Vienna, Schindel emerged as one of the leaders of Austria's strongest Maoist faction, the Marxistisch-Leninis- tische Studentenorganisation. In novels and stories published in the early 1970s in the environs of the political and literary Gruppe Hundsblume, Schindel tended to gloss over his Jewish identity on anti-Zion- ist (i.e. anti-imperialist) grounds; and in 1978, he went so far as to disrupt an event held by Vienna's Jewish community to cel- ebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel.

In the context of the rapid decline of Austria's Maoist movement, Schindel abandoned radical politics in 1979, turning to questions of Jewish identity and experi- ence. Rejoining the IKG around that time, Schindel was instrumental in the creation of a Jewish literary scene, emerging as one of the principal voices of Jewish protest against Waldheim. In 1986, a first collec- tion of poems was issued by Suhrkamp un- der the evocative title Ohneland, a series of texts that exemplified and embodied the new position of Jewish literary and cul- turd autonomy. Three other books of po- etry, all published by Suhrkamp, followed in 1987, 1988, and 1992, continuing the critical engagement with the Austrian- Jewish predicament.lg The year 1992 also saw the publication of Schindel's novel Geburtig, the most critically and commer- cially successful product of the Jewish lit- erary renaissance and arguably its defini- tive te~t.~O

From Modernity to Postmodernity in Austrian-Jewish History

What this historical and cultural re- contextualization of Vienna's contempo- rary Jewish literary scene allows us to do is to locate it as part of a larger argument about what could be figured as a transition from modernity to postmodernity in Aus- trian-Jewish existence. The argument could be sketched as follows: The invention and circumscription of the "Jew" as invari- ant Other is a decisively modern phenome- non that can be dated to the latter half of the nineteenth century. This is not to say, of course, that anti-Semitism was an exclu- sively modern phenomenon. As has been amply documented, anti-Semitism has persisted in the European realm for nearly two millennia, fueled by, among other fac- tors, Christian doctrine and various local arrangements that placed Jews outside the social sphere. But pre-modern society was inherently more segmentary, rendering Jews one group among several whose con- nections to the body politic were intrinsi- cally tenuous. Moreover, even if Jews ex- isted on the margins of the social order, Christian dogma allowed for a more or less ready recuperation in the event of the Jews' conversion.

Given this situation, what ultimately distinguished the late nineteenth century's modern variant of Central Euro- pean anti-Semitism from its antecedents was its constitutive anchoring in the con- cept of ra~e.~l

A function of modernity's striving toward rational classification, the idea of race transformed the notion of Jew- ish difference from a religious and cultural model of explanation to one grounded in an invariant destiny of biology. As Hannah Arendt has put it, Yews had been able to escape from Judaism into conversion; from Jewishness there was no escape."22

Zygmunt Bauman has explored the cul- tural logic of this modernizing process most thoroughly. In his provocative book Modernity and the Holocaust, he builds on and goes beyond Horkheimer and Adorno in proposing to read the Holocaust as the catastrophic pinnacle of a European mo- dernity constituted at the intersection of rationalized classification and social im- provement.Z3 If, following Bauman, we fig- ure the Holocaust as the telos of moder- nity's violently exclusionary project, Aus- tria's Second Republic could be regarded as a moment of late modernity. For, contrary to official discourses, the year 1945 hardly constituted a total break with the Third Reich. While the liberation halted the sys- tematic extermination of Jews, Austria's Second Republic reproduced a cultural logic that constructed the body politic through the systematic exclusion, margin- alization, and silencing of Jews. As victims of Austrian hegemonies, Jews existed in a conceptual vacuum. They were trapped by a violent logic of modern abjection-a logic that enforced public invisibility in the in- terest of maintaining a homogenizing sta- tus quo.

Contemporary Viennese-Jewish litera- ture, much like other forms of public Jew- ish existence, has emerged in direct opposi- tion to this modern interdiction. While the notion of an affirmatively figured, autono- mous Jewishness was inconceivable for most of Austria's Second Republic, it has become a commonplace, both in the liter- ary and cultural realm. It is in this sense that I would like to suggest, in conclusion, a reading of this recent emergence of Jewish literature and culture into Austria's public sphere in terms of a shift from modernity to postmodernity. For if we understand the abject constitution and constitutive silenc- ing of Jews as a specifically modern phe- nomenon, and if we furthermore under- stand the group's continued abjection in postwar Austria as a function and signpost of late modernity, then we can grasp the present moment in terms of a social and cultural transition to a kind of post-modernity. This postmodernity would, in turn, be characterized by its constitutive pluralism, a pluralism that has opened Austria's body politic to one of modernity's abject Others-the Jews. If Central Euro- pean modernity was the cultural paradigm that constructed and silenced Jews as an invariant Other, and if Austrian late mo- dernity perpetuated the group's cultural abjection in a post-Holocaust context, then it is a decisively postmodern moment that has allowed the group's affirmative emer- gence into Vienna's public sphere. Whe- ther the recent emergence of a vibrant Ger- man-Jewish literary scene could be simi- larly regarded in terms of a transition from modernity to postmodernity remains to be ascertained in future research.

Notes

lFor discussions of contemporary Vien- nese-Jewish authors see Thomas Nolden, Junge judische Literatur (Wurzburg: Konigs- hausen, 1995); Ingrid Spork, "Robert Schin- del's novel Geburtig continues the develop- ment of Jewish writing in Austria after the Shoah," Yale Companion to Jewish Writing and Thought in German Culture, 1096-1966, ed. Sander Gilman and Jack Zipes (New Ha- ven: Yale UT: 1997) 827-32; Dagmar C. G. Lorenz, "The Legacy of Jewish Vienna," Insiders and Outsiders: Jewish and Gentile Cul- ture in Germany and Austria, ed. Dagmar C.G. Lorenz and Gabriele Weinberger (Detroit: Wayne State Uq 1994) 293-300; Matthias Konzett, "The Politics of Recognition in Con- temporary Austrian Jewish Literature," Monatshefte 90.1 (1998); Hildegard Kernmeyer, "Gebiirtig Ohneland. Robert Schindel: Auf der Suche nach der verlorenen Identitat," Modern Austrian Literature 27.3-4 (1994): 173-92; Renate Posthofen, "Erinnerte Geschichte(n): Robert Schindels Roman Geburtig," Modern Austrian Literature 27.3-4 (1994): 193-211; Renate Posthofen, "Ruth Beckermann: Re-Activating Memory- In Search of Lost Time Lost," Out from the Shadows: Essays on Contemporary Austrian Women Writers and Filmmakers, ed. Mar- garete Lamb-Faffelberger (Riverside: Ariadne, 1997) 264-76; Dagmar C.G. Lorenz, "Pasts in the Present: Vienna Jewish Literatures of the 1980s," Historical Memories/ Historische Gedachtnisse Conference, Vienna, 19-21 March 1998; Matthias Konzett, "Austrian Lit- eratures in a Culture of Amnesia," Historical Memories1 Historische Gedachtnisse Confer- ence, Vienna, 19-21 March 1998.

2For accounts of Austrian-Jewish existence after the Holocaust, see Helga Embacher,

Neubeginn ohne Illusionen: Juden in 0ster- reich nach 1945 (Vienna: Picus, 1995); Evelyn Adunka, "Die Wiener judische Gemeinde und der Anti-Semitismus nach 1945," Studien zur Geschichte der Juden in ~sterreich, ed. Mar- tha Keil and Eleanor Lappin (Bodenheim: Philo, 1997) 205-22; Robert Knight, "'Neu- trality', not Sympathy: Jews in Postwar Aus- tria," Austrians and Jews5n the Twentieth Century: From Franz-Joseph to Waldheim, ed. Robert Wistrich (London: Macmillan, 1992) 220-33; Hans Thalberg, Von der Kunst ~sterreicher zu sein: Erinnerungen und Tagebuchnotizen (Vienna: Bohlau, 1984); John Bunzl, Der lunge Arm der Erinnerung: Judisches BewuPtsein heute (Vienna: Bohlau,

1987).

3Ruth Beckermann, Unzugehiirig: Oster- reicher und Juden nach 1945 (Vienna: Locker, 1989) 117.

40n Kreisky, see Robert Wistrich, "The Kreisky Phenomenon: A Reassessment," Austrians and Jews in the Twentieth Century: From Franz-Joseph to Waldheim, ed. Robert Wistrich (London: Macmillan, 1992) 234-51;

H.E Secher, "The 'Jewish' Kreisky: Perception or Reality," History of European Ideas 20.4-6 (1995). See also the three volumes of Kreisky's memoirs, Zwischen den Zeiten: Erfahrunen aus funf Jahrzehnten (Berlin: Siedler, 1986), Im Strom der Politik: Erfahrungen eines Europaers (Berlin: Siedler, 1988), Der Mensch im Mittelpunkt: Der Memoieren dritter Teil

(Wien: K&S, 1996).

5Hilde Spiel, Paul Celan, and Albert Ehrenstein, for example, briefly returned to postwar Vienna, leaving again after relatively short periods of time.

60n Weigel and Torberg in postwar Aus- tria, see Evelyn Adunka, "Friedrich Torberg und Hans Weigel: Zwei jiidische Schriftsteller im Nachkriegsosterreich," Modern Austrian Literature 27.3-4 (1994): 213-37.

7See Matti Bunzl, "From Silence to Defi- ance: Jews and Queers in Contemporary Vi- enna," diss., U of Chicago, 1998, esp. ch. 5.

8For an analysis of this dynamic, see Matti Bunzl, "On the Politics and Semantics of Aus- trian Memory: Vienna's Monument against War and Fascism," History & Memory 7.2 (1995): 7-40. On the political stance of the IKG in general, see Embacher.

9On the history of Austria's reluctance to pay restitutions to Jewish victims of the Holo- caust, see Robert Knight, "Ich bin dafur, die Sache in die Lunge zu ziehen": Die Wort- protokolle der osterreichischen Bundesregie- rung von 1945 bis 1952 uber die Entscha- digung der Juden (Frankfurt: Athenaum, 1988); Brigitte Bailer, Wiedergutmachung kein Thema: ~sterreich und die Opfer des National- sozialismus (Vienna: Locker, 1993).

loon the political dynamics of the Waldheim affair, see Richard Mitten, The Poli- tics of Anti-Semitic Prejudice: The Waldheim Phenomenon in Austria (Boulder: Westview, 1992).

llThe following argument is articulated in detail in Matti Bunzl, "From Silence" ch. 1.

12Elinor Haber, "Jiidische Kulturwoche 1992: Die Analyse eines Erfolges," Die Ge- meinde 2 July 1992: 19.

13See Matti Bunzl, "From Silence" ch. 5.

14Beckermann 119.

15Beckermann 121.

16An earlier, seminal moment in this devel- opment occurred in 1985, the year before the Waldheim affair, when the controversial recep- tion by Austria's secretary of defence of Walter Reder, an SS officer convicted of mass homi- cide, following Reder's parole from a life sen- tence in Italy, was greeted with outspoken Jewish protests, both in print and at demon- strations. Ten years before then, in 1975, Bruno Kreisky's fierce defense of the former SS officer Friedrich Peter-then the chairman of the right-wing Freedom Party and a poten- tial political ally for Kreisky-had caused consternation among many left-leaning intel- lectual Jews. Given the group's political orien- tation at the time, however, a systematic cri- tique of Kreisky's position was not articulated. Rather, Kreisky's Jewish detractors were found in the politically conservative camp of Simon Wiesenthal, whose allegiance was with the Christian-conservative People's Party, the party that was to nominate Kurt Waldheim for Austria's presidency in 1986.

17Beckermann 122.

180n Schindel's biography, see "Robert Schindel-Lexikalisch," Die Gemeinde 8 July 1988: 35.

lgSchindel's other collections of poetry are titled Geier sind punktliche Tiere (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1987), Im Herzen die Kratze (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1988), and Ein Feuer- chen im Hintennach (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1992).

20Praised widely in the German press, Geburtig (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1992) was on both the Austrian and German bestseller lists for nearly a year, and was issued in paperback in 1994. That same year a book of short stories was published under the title Die Nacht der Harlekine: Erzahlungen (Frankfurt: Suhr- kamp, 1994), followed a year later by a collec- tion of essays, Gott schutz uns vor den guten Menschen: Jiidisches Gedachtnis, Auskunfts- bur0 der Angst (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1995).

21George Mosse has analyzed this process most thoroughly in his book Toward the Final Solution:AHistory of European Racism (Madison: U of Wisconsin e 1978).

22Hannah Arendt, Origins of Totalitarian- ism (London: Allen, 1962) 87. 23Zygmunt Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust (Ithaca: Cornell Ue 1989).

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