New book on German Shoah guilt claims national ‘silence’

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New book on German Shoah guilt claims national ‘silence’

Katharina Volckmer's book 'The Appointment' claims Germans still 'just freeze' when somebody mentions the Holocaust, and they tell themselves 'they have dealt with their past'

The Appointment. (Credit: Léa Laügt / @frauvolckmer on Twitter)
The Appointment. (Credit: Léa Laügt / @frauvolckmer on Twitter)

The author of a controversial new book about Germans’ Holocaust guilt has said an awkward national silence on the subject has led to the false impression that the country has dealt with its past.

Katharina Volckmer made the comments to the Guardian when discussing her debut novel ‘The Appointment’, out this week, in which a wealthy woman who dreams of having sex with Hitler discusses her thoughts with a private practice London doctor.

Born in Germany, Volckmer came to study languages in London, where she now works for a literary agency, and said Germans still “just freeze” when somebody mentions the Holocaust.

“It’s a story they tell themselves, that they have dealt with their past, but I don’t think that’s a thing you can do,” she said. “They are silent about the continuities, the resurgence of neo-fascism in Germany. They have turned a blind eye. Now it’s a huge problem.”

She said there had been criticism of the book – described as “a confession” – from non-Jewish Germans who “think it’s vulgar to bring your body into a discussion about the Holocaust” but that feedback from Jews had been positive.

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