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Lisa Silverman

Senior Fellow (10/2019–03/2020)


The Postwar Antisemite. Culture and Complicity in Austria and Germany 1945–1965



This book project examines the development of the figural antisemite in texts, trials, and visual culture after 1945. It argues that this figure became an indispensable trope in postwar culture, enabling Austrians and Germans to deny complicity in the Holocaust, navigate a radically changed political and cultural landscape, and re-establish lives upended by war. As a readily recognisable and easily adaptable figure of evil, the antisemite often replaced the figural Jew, the ultimate Other of prewar Central European culture. Yet, this replacement signalled neither a desire for the inclusion of Jews in postwar society, nor a destabilization of widespread and systemic antisemitic prejudices. Rather, it highlighted how narratives created after the Holocaust continued to rely upon deeply engrained tropes of ‘Jewish difference’, even as they suppressed explicit antisemitism. The damaging effects of the figural antisemite spread far beyond Europe and continue to this day.


Lisa Silverman is Associate Professor of History and Jewish Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Contributing Editor of the Leo Baeck Institute Year Book. Her research focusses on Jewish cultural history and antisemitism in modern Central Europe.


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The Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) is funded by:


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