The Germanic Mosaic: Cultural and Linguistic Diversity in Society

By Carol Aisha Blackshire-Belay | Go to book overview

25
The Encounter with the Other World: André Kaminski's Search for the Jewish Past

ALBRECHT CLASSEN

The interest in the Other, as a hermeneutic problem, has increased considerably over the last ten to fifteen years. In fact, the interpretation of the Other has even become a field of study on its own within the broad framework of Gennanistik. Alois Wierlacher, one of the leading researchers in this direction, stresses the importance of understanding the Other because it is the condition for self -- analysis: "Wechselseitigkeit des Selbst- und Fremdverstehens" ["correspondence of the understanding of oneself and of the foreign"]. 1 The aim consists in developing one's own identity in confrontation with the foreign, and vice versa. In the process of a dialectic reception and rejection of the Other, the poetic I -- to refer here to the literary aspect of this process only -- develops personal dimensions and establishes communicative links with its closer and further environment. 2 Alterity should not be a barrier for the understanding of the Foreign, rather it should provoke a renewed interest, even fascination, with what has been unknown and which challenges the fundamental philosophical concepts of the self 3 This interpretive approach applies, with no difficulties, both to medieval and to modern literature, to anthropology, history, and literary studies. 4

Intercultural communication and its interpretation has been widely accepted as one of the most significant fields of present and future interdisciplinary research 5 and was discussed, for instance, in great depth at the Congress of the Gesellschaft für Interkulturelle Germanistik [ Society for Intercultural Germanistik] from July 1 to 4, 1987 in Bayreuth. 6 Other important contributions to this growing body of research are those by Karlheinz Ohle, Alfred Schütz, and Jürgen Habermas. 7 The present conference documents the continued interest in this topic, to which I contributed an interpretation of André Kaminski Schalom Allerseits. Tagebuch einer Deutschlandreise, published in 1987. 8

-253-

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