„Die zugenagelten Fenster auf Europa entriegeln“ – Ostap Ortwin übersetzt Otto Weiningers Geschlecht und Charakter

Justyna Górny


Ostap Ortwin Translates Otto Weininger’s Geschlecht und Charakter
This article discusses early Polish reactions to Otto Weininger’s Geschlecht und Charakter with special attention given to the anti-Semitic chapter ‘Judentum’. In this context the author analyses Ostap Ortwin, the first Polish translator of Weininger’s text. The Polish debate over Weininger’s book shows how his postulate of self-betterment combined with overcoming in-born weaknesses attracted the attention of the readership. Moreover, foreign text stemming from an alien language made challenging Jewish-critical opinions somehow easier. Leo Belmont, one of the readers, chose to publicly criticize the Jewish mentality—which represented a personal identity question for him—without entering into an alliance with Polish anti-Semites. Weininger’s text gave him this opportunity by making possible, at least rhetorically, a non-partisan reflexion on the hotly debated topic.