The Jewess Hana, or antisemitism in the Soviet bloc

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Jurij Koch: Židowka Hana [The Jewess Hana] (Ser: Kapsne knihi LND, Vol. 35). Illustrated by K.G. Müller. Budyšin [Bautzen, East Germany], Ludowe nakładnistwo Domowina, 1963, 114 pp.

The article is devoted to the first novel of the Sorbian writer Jurij Koch entitled Židowka Hana [The Jewess Hana], published in 1963. Curiously, it contains in its title the ethnonym “Jewess”, which breached the antisemitic line then adopted across the Soviet bloc. Perhaps, this ideological transgression explains why this novel was not translated into German or the bloc’s other languages during the communist period. Sorbian-language novels were (and still are) few and apart, so the East German authorities, for the sake of the official promotion of minority cultures, supported the translation of them into German and other “socialist languages”. But not in this case. The important work languished half-forgotten in its Upper Sorbian original and in the 1966 Lower Sorbian translation. Only three decades after the fall of communism and the reunification of Germany, the author prepared and successfully published the German-language version of this novel in 2020.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-271
JournalNarracje o Zagładzie
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2021


  • Holocaust
  • Germany
  • Lusatian
  • Upper Sorbian
  • Literature
  • European history
  • Jewish history
  • German history
  • Sorbian history
  • Lusatian history


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