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Imre Kertész's current role in the German debate about the Holocaust is contrasted to the reception of Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, the influence of György Lukács, and the prominence of Martin Walser. Kertész's popularity in Germany dovetailed with that of Goldhagen, but whereas the latter's impact was fleeting, Kertész has become a guardian of Holocaust memory in Germany. While Goldhagen repudiated past German culture, Kertész is both a survivor of the Holocaust and champion of a lost Central European Jewish-German culture, in the tradition of Wagner, Nietzsche, and Thomas Mann. In this capacity he serves as an anti-Lukács, reviving or rather honoring a lost cosmopolitan tradition. Both Kertész and Walser capture the adolescent confusion, but the message and cosequences of Kertész's camp experiences of 1944 and 1945 and Martin Walser's autobiographical account of the same years in the Hitler Jugend are starkly different. In the present German dialogue on the Holocaust, Kertész's language of homelessness acts as an antedote to Walser's cult of the Heimat.

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