The Dance of Genghis Cohn

       First posted 10/4/12. Reposted for Yom Hashoah in memory of Romain Gary

After Shechem raped Dinah he wanted to marry her. His father offered Jacob a generous bride price. Jacobs’s sons added on a demand that they and their townspeople get circumcised, and they agreed. At which point Shimon and Levi swooped in and killed them all. Jacob reprimanded them for messing up relations with the local Canaanites and Peerizzites but they shot back “Should our sister be treated like a prostitute. That was one Jewish response to rape.

Romain Gary (aka Romain Kacev of Vilna)

Romain Gary (aka Romain Kacev of Vilna)

Romain Gary offers another response in his dark comic novel, The Dance of Genghis Cohn. Moishe Cohn is a vaudeville cabaret comedian in Weimar Germany performing with the stage name, Genghis Cohn. He is swept up in the holocaust and now finds himself in Eastern Europe naked with other Jews on the edge of a killing pit. Schatz, the Nazi officer, decides to mock his victims by asking, “Any last requests?” Ever the comedian, Cohn bends over and cracks, “Kish mein tuchis! (Kiss my behind!)”

After the war Cohn extracts his revenge on Officer Schatz, who is now a respectable Police Chief, by possessing him as a dybuk (ghost). Continue reading