The article explores the phenomenon of return to Germany in contemporary Israeli cinema and argues that this return encodes a therapeutic construct for cultural healing from the traumas of forced migration and the Holocaust. Trauma studies supplies a theoretical framework for the analysis of three films and informs the investigation of the wider cultural and historical contexts of the return. Two of the films bring their protagonists to Germany to face the descendants of the perpetrators. The encounter with Germany and German characters initiates an emotional process that may result in a working through of the trauma. The third film reflects on the notion of return as a therapeutic trope but leaves it as an unfulfilled option. These films thus serve as case studies to examine broader theoretical issues that relate to processes of return and possibilities of collective recovery.

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