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    Rainer Maria Rilke

    Jew Score:
    8

    I2

    O2

    K4
    December 4, 1875 – December 29, 1926

    We really enjoyed "Jojo Rabbit", which, on paper, sounds quite queer: the story young Nazi boy whose best friend is an imaginary Hitler. And yet, the film is funny and fantastic, with Hitler made the butt of the jokes. (Hooray for that Maori Jew, Taika Waititi!) But we're to talk about one scene in the movie, when two characters list off various German and Jewish writers, artists, and thinkers, to see which side "wins". (Oh, we know which side wins!)

    Chief in the argument is Rainer Maria Rilke, whose poetry is loved by one of the characters. When the other proclaims him as German, she quips that Rilke had a Jewish mother. This is where we come in, of course.

    Did Rene Karl Wilhelm Johann Josef Maria Rilke (what a mouthful!) have a Jewish mother? It's hard to say. He was definitely raised Catholic, even though he didn't practice as an adult. His mother was Catholic as well, but came from a Prague manufacturing family, the Entz-Kinzelbergers, who seem to have been Jewish down the line. (Excatly how far back it's hard to say.)

    Obviously, we can't go higher than "Barely a Jew" for Rilke (or his mother), so let's call his case a draw. But we really must praise the movie's writers... Who doesn't love a good Jew or Not Jew argument?!

    Verdict: Barely a Jew.

    December 11, 2020

    See Also

    Heinrich Heine

    Scarlett Johansson

    Osip Mandelstam

    Erich Maria Remarque

    Taika Waititi
    © Jew or Not Jew, 2006-2021.