This article focuses on the fictionalized character of the Soviet spy Richard Stahlmann, who was attributed with “Asian eyes” by Peter Weiss, in volume 3 of The Aesthetics of Resistance. In a passage that describes Stahlmann’s visit to Angkor Wat, the character’s identity crisis is precipitated by his self-Orientalizing gaze, leading him to doubt his commitment to communism. The article relates this to Weiss’s own biographical experience as a left-wing intellectual who belatedly discovered that his father was Jewish and had kept this fact a secret to evade the Nazis. However, antisemitism continued in the antifascist, anticapitalist context of both East and West Germany, as shown in The Aesthetics: Jews were portrayed as duplicitous and accused of treason, as “spies.” Weiss himself experienced leftist antisemitism and took this narrative detour to Southeast Asia to address this problem through the fictive figure of Stahlmann.

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