Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies
Volume 24, Number 1, Fall 2005
pp. 67-80 | 10.1353/sho.2005.0189
Israeli documentary films of the 1940s and 1950s that deal with the Holocaust and Holocaust survivors point to the existence of a personal repressed Holocaust narrative in an era when such a narrative was stifled by the collective narrative of Holocaust and heroism. In these repressed narratives, remembrance of the Holocaust erupts in the present and disrupts the Zionist narrative that leads from the obliteration of the Diaspora past to the formation of the Israeli present and future. This is the narrative of people who remained foreign and "other" in Israeli society, who did not exchange their identities as Zionism expected of them. The films attempt to integrate these people into the Israeli collective, but their individuality, illuminated by the subversive reading, makes this integration difficult to achieve. The article analyzes the early documentary cinema in order to show that the survivors' personal narrative sabotages the national narrative from within.