Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2015

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Germanic Languages and Literatures

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



This dissertation investigates how a constellation of German Jewish post-Holocaust novels confronts the paradox of recovering and recuperating lost stories of Holocaust victims. I analyze how works by Edgar Hilsenrath, Jurek Becker, and Fred Wander reveal a preoccupation with the innumerable stories and testimonies of the individuals who did not survive the Nazi Judeocide to contribute to the archive of experience. These novels gesture toward an epistemological alternative to this loss: they consider possibilities for recovering the unarchivable. These German Jewish authors employ a particular cluster of varied narrative strategies: the dialogic, linguistic and cultural elements of Eastern European Jewish culture, and a literary trope I term the "almost lost story," as components of a narrative practice that allows the novels' narrators--and by extension, the readers--to imagine a discursive space for this disnarrated testimony, or "anti-archive." This study uncovers the extent to which post-Holocaust German Jewish literature is underpinned by a conception of Ashkenaz that encompasses both German Jewish and Eastern European Jewish culture and thought. My dissertation shows that the problems of trauma, loss, memory, and memorialization in post-1945 German Jewish fiction are above all problems of narrativity.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Erin McGlothlin

Committee Members

Jennifer Kapczynski, Caroline Kita, Tabea Linhard, Paul Michael Lützeler


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