Holocaust Testimonials, Ethics, and Aesthetics
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: University of Washington Press
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This book has been many years in the making, and most of the ideas that finally found their way onto its pages probably first raced through my head in the classroom, in response to tough, clever questions asked by my students. Their love of books, curiosity, and unrelenting passion for new ideas ...
Introduction: Disappearing Traces: Holocaust Testimonials between Ethics and Aesthetics
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During the ceremonies inaugurating the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Center in 2003, Aba Beer, a Holocaust survivor, was asked to reminisce about his experiences during the war. At a loss for words as to how to describe the horrors he had undergone, he remarked, “It takes a poet to describe it. ...
1. “Like an Echo without a Source”: Subjectivity as Witnessing and the Holocaust Narrative
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In a short, poetic reflection, “Nocturnal Variation on a Theme,” from the volume Traces, Ida Fink (1998), an Israeli writer and Holocaust survivor, describes a former camp inmate’s recurrent nightmare of returning to Auschwitz. In the first dream, “He was freed from the camp and passed through the gate ...
2. The Tower of Babel: Holocaust Testimonials and the Ethics of Translation
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In his essay “Language in Exile,” Imre Kertész (2004) explains that he writes exclusively about the Holocaust “because it does not have a language.” No particular language could possibly contain the experience of the Holocaust. If there were such a language, says Kertész, it would be so full of violence and grief ...
3. Lending an Ear to the Silence Phrase: Holocaust Writing of the Differend
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At least since the broadcast of the contentious TV miniseries Holocaust in 1978, a number of Holocaust testimonials were labeled “controversial” because of the challenge they posed to the established boundaries between creditable responses to the atrocities and “mere” aesthetic productions. ...
4. Poethics of Disappearing Traces: Levinas, Literary Testimony, and Holocaust Art
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In one of the interviews about his film Shoah, Claude Lanzmann commented that he had to work with “the disappearance of traces. . . , with traces of traces of traces” (quoted in Robbins 1987, 252). The motif of traces structures one of the film’s opening episodes, in which Simon Srebrnik, a survivor of Chełmno extermination camp, ...
5. “Witnesses against Themselves”: Encounters with Daughters of Absence
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Already in 1998, historian Annette Wieviorka noted, with some trepidation, that traditional ways of representing history had been recently challenged by imaginative interpretations of the past. In contrast to objective and emotionally distant historical accounts, these representations often focus on transmitting ...
Epilogue: “To Write Another Book about the Holocaust . . . ”
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As I was working on the final paragraphs of this book, a colleague of mine commented, “Let’s be honest: who wants to read another book about the Holocaust?” The question stirred up a deep-seated anxiety. I know that my desire to read books about the Holocaust is not shared by the majority of the population in North America today. ...
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Publication Year: 2012
Series Title: Stephen S. Weinstein series in post-Holocaust studies