In recent years Culture Studies, Anthropology, German Studies, History, Political Psychology, and other fields have used the concept of ‘exile’ in close connection with terms like migration, border crossing, identity, and transnationality. Views of a homogeneous culture and of centricity collide with ideas like multiculturalism, pluralism, creolization, and the globalization of differences. A transit-culture, inhabited by the flaneur and the nomad, is supposed to have replaced citizenship in a nation. At the same time, there can be no doubt that the experience of those writers, artists and intellectuals who were driven out of Germany and Europe by the Nazis was in many ways unique.
This book investigates the exile experience in a theoretical and comparative way by exploring the possibilities and limitations of concepts like diaspora, de-localization, and transit-culture for understanding the lives and works of German and Austrian refugees from Nazi persecution. It revisits the interaction of the exiles with the culture of their host countries in light of recent debates about migration and identity studies and it analyzes texts, paintings and other methods of artistic expression which connect the experience of the refugees of 1933 with postmodern notions of de-localization, hybridity, and marginalization.