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Grand, S. (2019). Excitations of Vengeance: The We-Ness of History. Psychoanal. Dial., 29(2):143-150.

(2019). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 29(2):143-150

Excitations of Vengeance: The We-Ness of History

Sue Grand, Ph.D.

The author responds to Frie’s paper by examining our denial of our own perpetrator legacies, both personally and culturally. In reckoning with this legacy, we, too, can be bewildered, as Frie is, by his central question: How can grandfather be loving and also a Nazi? Can we go on loving a beloved grandfather who wore the Nazi uniform? How do we metabolize this predicament? The author pursues these questions by excavating her own complementary history. Her father was an American Jewish soldier during World War II; he witnessed the liberation of Dachau. Through narratives of vengeance, the author’s father neutralizes his impotence and reconstitutes himself. How do his stories infuse a daughter’s idealization? What happens when these threads meet Frie’s history and concern? How do we construct a new I–Thou out of this dialogue across history and atrocity?

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