Elizabeth AnthonyAug 19, 2021
The Compromise of Return
Viennese Jews After the Holocaust
Wayne State University Press 2021
Most often our engagement with the Holocaust is a process of wrestling with the absence of presence and the presence of absence. This is right and important and necessary.
But Elizabeth Anthony's new book The Compromise of Return: Viennese Jews after the Holocaust (Wayne State UP, 2021) reminds us that the story of the Holocaust is also the story of return, of resurfacing, of presence itself. Anthony studies the return of Viennese Jews to Vienna after the end of the Second World War. She starts by reminding us that for some Jews, those who survived in hiding or by being married to non-Jews, to return was to become visible again. But for many Jews, this was a physical relocation, a conscious decision to return home, with all that meant.
Anthony offers a careful interpretative framework for understanding the waves of returnees and how they experience a new Vienna. But Anthony has an eye for telling anecdotes and details and the book is packed with stories and details drawn from interviews, memoirs, diaries and letters.
Kelly McFall is Professor of History and Director of the Honors Program at Newman University.