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Hebrew Studies 39 (1998) 270 Reviews lament a catastrophe that is boundless." For Appelfeld, by contrast, Mintz notes, "the Holocaust was the founding event of the self'; thus, Appelfeld's writing expresses a strong sense of rupture with the Jewish past, and with the Hebrew literary tradition. More than a decade after its initial publication, Hurban is startlingly fresh, insightful, and original. Throughout, Mintz looks at differences between literature written at or near the time of catastrophe and literature written at a greater distance from the event. His work suggests that our sense of how-and whether-Hebrew literature will absorb the Nazi genocide into the continuity of Jewish tradition and give it a meaning that provides for consolation and continuity remains incomplete, close as we are to the event. Sara R. Horowitz University of Delaware Newark, DE 19716 srh@udel.edu ISRAELI HOLOCAUST DRAMA. Michael Taub, ed. pp. ix + 332. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1996. Paper, $19.95. Jewish literature on the Shoah recounts the horrors of the Nazi treatment of Europe's Jews in the historical context of deep-rooted prejudices and ethnocentric behavior. A number of these works indict antisemitism, anti-Judaism, hypocritical humanitarianism, and the inactivity of influential leaders as contributing factors in the murder of innocents, including six million Jews. Many writers and poets maintain that the Shoah is truly sui generis. Nothing can compare to the enactment of the human and historical evil that plagued the Jewish people and other minorities during the 1930s and the 1940s. For example, Elie Wiesel suggests that to scream about radical dehumanization raises the possibility that the world is not listening or doesn't care, and this is a victory for evil. He counsels that all speaking about the Shoah and its consequences is thoroughly inadequate and sacrilegious to the millions of victims. Yet the stance of silence heightens questions about humans and God within Judaism, the religion. Jewish tradition teaches that humanity is made in the image of God and must imitate God. Is God's silence during centuries of pogroms against the Jews interpreted as God's presence in suffering (see E. Wiesel, Night, Bantam Books [1982], pp. 6162 )7 If so, then what is the message to the Jews living in this Christ-like Hebrew Studies 39 (1998) 271 Reviews image of God? What comfort to the Chosen People when its Lord of Hosts chooses also to be known as the "Lord of Fires"? Further, does not silence convey the survivors' most dreadful thought: Shoah happened; is anyone listening, does anyone care? The questions are agonizing, the answers are blasphemous, possibly because the Shoah is the ultimate paradox. It imposes silence even while it demands speech. However, the voices from the ovens construct a new language . The goal of Hitlerism from beginning to end was the total annihilation of European Jewry. Never in history has state-sponsored, legalized murder been executed without hindrance or restraint. The tragedy of the six million becomes our obligatory memory. We must learn of Holocaust's horrors and pass on the slory lest the cunning of history repeats again and destroys all that God and humanity have wrought. This brings us to Israeli Holocaust Drama. an anthology of Israeli plays that hack away at evil, at wrong decisions, at gUilt and perversity. They gnaw the dilemma of the survivors, the maligned Judenrat, the undesirable but necessary "Elder of the Jews," the Hungarian Nazi investigating officer, and the fragility of Jews under siege, slung like a thin lampshade over the EndLOsung, the raison d'etre of their torment. Holocaust drama makes a reader feel that fragility; it can make readers look over their shoulder or startle at the knock on a door. However, the transaction is fraught with expectations that too often are formulated. The SS officer-swaggering, sneering, barking out his murderous commands; the victim, a helpless individual with no hope of escape or rescue; the guiltladen survivors who wonder why they live while their loved ones perished; the herolines who risk everything, including life, so that others could survive the Nazi abominations, etc. But Michael Taub, who teaches Hebrew, Yiddish, and other Jewish literature , knows that the Hebrew belletrist...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2158-1681
Print ISSN
0146-4094
Pages
pp. 270-272
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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