Die Welle als Muster. Sechs Thesen zur anhaltenden Bedeutung der „antisemitischen Welle“ 1959/1960

On Christmas eve of 1959, the newly consecrated synagogue of Cologne was daubed with antisemitic slogans and swastikas. While this act was strongly denounced throughout the political spectrum, it triggered a wave of anti-Semitic incidents in Germany and beyond during the beginning of the following year. The article argues that the sociopolitical discussions on anti-Semitism conducted 60 years ago established patterns of debate that still shape present discussions. Fundamental contradictions of post-fascist society become visible within these patterns of debate. We outline six aspects: the contradiction between the legacy of National Socialism on the one hand and
the acknowledgment of Jewish life within Germany on the other; the authoritarian handling of expressions of anti-Semitism; the inferiorization of the perpetrators; the pedagogization of societal contradictions; the dethematization of anti-Semitism; and protest against anti-Semitism as a medium for the critique of society.

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