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Germans Want To Put the Holocaust Behind Them. One Citizen Says, ‘Not So Fast.’

Yascha Mounk talks about growing up in a place where people fetishized, reviled, or resented him simply for being born a Jew

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Yascha and his grandmother Ewa.(Courtesy of Yascha Mounk)

Yascha Mounk grew up in Germany in the 1980s and ’90s. As a distinct minority, he gradually came to understand that his presence brought out a mixture of anti-Semitism, philo-Semitism, and profound discomfort in his fellow Germans. All Mounk wanted was a conversation without the fact of his Jewish background casting any special shadow. That such a conversation seemed impossible, he argues, has to do with Germany’s failure to reckon thoroughly with its own history—and it led Mounk to settle, for now, in the United States.

In Stranger in My Own Country: A Jewish Family in Modern Germany, the 31-year-old Mounk looks at how Germans have dealt with the Holocaust in the decades since its conclusion, moving from denial to contrition to defensiveness and a desire, finally, to be done talking about the Holocaust once and for all. Mounk joins Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry to discuss how those arcs affected his interpersonal relationships, as well as Germany’s own self-interests—from its engagement with the European Union to its treatment of immigrants from Turkey and elsewhere.

Plus: Read Adam Kirsch’s review of Stranger in My Own Country.

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Germans Want To Put the Holocaust Behind Them. One Citizen Says, ‘Not So Fast.’

Yascha Mounk talks about growing up in a place where people fetishized, reviled, or resented him simply for being born a Jew

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