Katerina Questions and Answers
by Aharon Appelfeld

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Why does Katerina want to be with the Jews?

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In the book Katerina by Aharon Appelfield, the title character Katerina has deeply felt affinities with Jewish people because she has been close with Jewish people and worked for a Jewish family for many years. She is a social outcast herself, and she found solidarity with other social outcasts. Her job involved caring for the family's children, who taught her Yiddish and Hebrew, which also deepened her respect for Jewish culture. These relationships made the antisemitism that was rising in Europe feel unreasonable to her, and made her lean farther into her friendships with Jewish people rather than befriending people with so much hatred that she could not understand. Katerina understood that making friends with antisemites was not compatible with maintaining her friends with Jews.

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