chapter  6
18 Pages

A Dystopia as Utopia

The Algerian City of Oran and Annette von Droste-Hülshoff’s The Jews’ Beech Tree 1
WithMagnus Ressel

The Jews’ Beech Tree by Annette von Droste-Hülshoff is one of the most prominent titles of German literature. This chapter sheds light on the factual core of the book, i.e., the Algerian captivity of a murderer from the area of Paderborn. The author’s decision to downplay this aspect in her novel is interpreted as the result of her aim to present the protagonist largely as a victim. This would have been impossible had she mentioned the fact that he was a deserter from Oran, a city notorious throughout Europe as the place where the Spanish army stationed its international regiments filled with desperados and wanted criminals.