This autoethnography is an account of the survival of a Mischling (half-Jew) of the genocidal NDH (Independent State of Croatia) Ustasha regime, against the background of the persecution of Jews during the Second World War. It dwells upon the collapse of a young Jew’s world with the German occupation and the creation of that regime, his religious conversion, and his and his family’s precarious daily life under the latent existential threat posed by the regime. It stresses the tensions between external conformity and internal resistance against the regime, dwells upon the author’s liminal state of suspension between worlds, and asserts that the wartime experience left lasting marks on his sense of personal identity: he remained a partial outsider, never fully identified with, or belonging to a group, but able to adapt to wherever he lived, resembling in many respects Simmel’s “stranger.” The author believes that his experience of suspension between cultures reflect those of other adolescent Michlinge in the War, but the absence of similar autoethnographies precludes a confirmation of this assumption.
Surviving the NDH: A Jewish Mischling in Occupied Croatia
Erik Cohen is the George S. Wise Professor of Sociology (emeritus) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has conducted research in Israel, Peru, the Pacific Islands and, since 1977, in Thailand. He has authored about 250 publications, including several books. He is a founding member of the International Academy for the Study of Tourism. He was awarded the UN World Tourism Organization’s Ulysses Prize for 2012. He presently lives in Thailand.
- Views Icon Views
- Share Icon Share
- Search Site
Erik Cohen; Surviving the NDH: A Jewish Mischling in Occupied Croatia. Journal of Autoethnography 21 September 2020; 1 (4): 323–346. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/joae.2020.1.4.323
Download citation file: