Jan Kühne

Sammy Gronemann´s Lessing

“Sammy Gronemann’s Lessing” records yet another German-Jewish encounter, by tracing the literary imprints left by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing upon the German-Jewish writer Sammy Gronemann (1875-1952). The heritage of Lessing amounts to a legitimization of paradigmatic importance for Gronemann’s German-Jewish identity. By imitating Lessing, as well as by entering into a critical discourse with his works, especially with his dramatic poem Nathan the Wise, Gronemann incorporates a German voice into his Jewish habitus, with which he himself learned to speak in a polyvocal space of assymetric identifications. Partly based upon hitherto unresearched material, I not only expose Gronemann’s attempt to lend a German voice to the Jews’ plight – especially to those of Eastern European origin, but I also document the literary contribution, with which Sammy Gronemann enriched German culture. Gronemann attempted primarily to reach his own assimilated German-Jewish kinsmen. Thus we are presented in his work with a marvelous possibility to examine an early German Zionist perspective, and we may follow his reflection on which groups may raise their voice in Germany.
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