"A Wet Dog is Better than a Dry Jew"

The story of a German-Iranian who became an Israeli
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“To the Germans, I was a foreigner, to the Muslims a Jew, and to the Jews a juvenile delinquent.”

Arye Sharuz Shalicar was born in Germany, the son of Jewish immigrants from Iran. His background wasn’t an issue for him until his family moved to Wedding, a Berlin neighbourhood with a high proportion of Muslim immigrants. There, anti-Semitism is the order of the day, and when 15-year-old Shalicar’s friends find out he is Jewish he becomes the target of their aggression. With the help of a Kurdish friend he succeeds in “working his way up” the youth gang hierarchy.

Even at this point, his Jewish background doesn’t interest him much. As time passes though, he realizes that he needs to concentrate on graduating from high school, so he starts to pull out of the gang scene. This is the point that he starts to become more interested in his Jewish heritage.

In the end, he emigrates to Israel in 2001. A powerful coming-of-age story set in the heart of Germany. The title of the book refers to an Iranian saying: A “wet dog” is better than a “dry Jew".

  • Adapted to the screen by Damir Lukacevic with Kida Ramadan
  • Film released in July 2021
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248 pages, ISBN 978-3-423-34980-2
About the author
Portrait von Arye Sharuz Shalicar

Arye Sharuz Shalicar

Arye Sharuz Shalicar was born in 1977 in Göttingen, the son of Iranian immigrants. He studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and has been working for the ARD (First German television station) Middle East studio in Tel Aviv since 2007. Shalicar is deputy chairman of NOAM (the organisation of German-speaking immigrants in Israel) and since October 2009 also press officer of the Israeli armed forces.

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