The image of the perpetrator in Israeli Holocaust fiction changed fundamentally in the mid-1980s: from one-dimensional Nazi beasts, typical of earlier Israeli writing, to humanized individuals, whose vulnerability and multidimensionality may blur the divide between victims and victimizers. This development, which corresponds to similar patterns in other literatures (e.g., George Steiner’s Portage to San Cristobal of A.H.; Jonathan Littell’s Kindly Ones) has received relatively little critical attention, and it is discussed here through a close reading of major Israeli works of fiction—Ka-Tzetnik’s Salamandra, David Grossman’s See Under: Love, A. B. Yehoshua’s Mr. Mani—as well as more minor texts. Using theoretical work in narrative (E. M. Forster, James Phelan) and imagology (Manfred Beller and Joep Leerssen on German national character), this article formulates the recent shift in modes of perpetrator characterization in terms of its poetics and its place in Israel’s literary history.

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