THE RETURN OF THE DEAD SOULS: THE GERMAN STUDENTS' MOVEMENT AND THE GHOSTS OF AUSCHWITZ

Christoph Schmidt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

The intellectual history determined by the 1968 students' revolt sometimes appears as a ghost scene, emerging from the strong identification of the radical students with Jews and Judaism. This essay wishes to demonstrate the inner connection between the messianic political theology of the movement and the psychological effects of this over-identification, leading to a leftist anti-Semitism. While the revolutionary students saw themselves as the true successors of Jewish revolutionary messianism, they accused the real Jew, the one who settled in Israel, of being an imperialist traitor. The essay reconstructs the metamorphosis of these ghosts in a "phenomenology of the spirits" as a "Geistergeschichte" behind the official "Geistesgeschichte." Against this pathological path the essay presents Jürgen Habermas's reflections on the ethics of memory as its best therapy.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)75-86
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Modern Jewish Studies
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2014

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