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Book Reviews 177 suggestive asides about the influence of these four women, for example on postwar thinkers such as Levinas, Fackenheim, and Arendt, are largely unexplored. I would recommend anyone who had an interest in any particular chapter to read it, since individually the chapters are clear and concise in laying out the fields of discussion. However, since it has to compare the religious, philosophical, educational, biographical, historical, and artistic aspects of four separate writers, the book relies structurally on the strength ofits ability to relate one writer to the next and one topic to the next. Brenner has chosen to attempt lucidity through specificity and has broken the book up into parts, chapters, and subsections. Rather than supporting the text, this structure supports the section at the expense of the whole, which rarely makes it over the section break without losing momentum. Dan Friedman Department of Comparative Literature Yale University Breaking Crystal: Writing and Memory after Auschwitz, edited by Efraim Sicher. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998. 378 pp. $49.95. Efraim Sicher's edited volume, Breaking Crystal: Writing andMemory afterAuschwitz, effectively probes the particularities of second-generation witness to the Holocaust. Throughout, the volume acknowledges that historical and cultural situation shape in significant ways the utterances ofHolocaust witnesses: what they may know, how they may know it, and with what authority they may speak of it. The consideration of the "second generation" is but a temporal version ofthis concern to which the volume adds a further qualification: the distinctive vantages ofIsraeli and diaspora witness within the second generation. Temporal belatedness and geographical distance, both expressions of "not being there," may mark the second-generation witness as, at least partially, outside the very experience to which it must testify, an experience whose seriousness seeks the authority of the inside. Herein lies the basic challenge of second-generation "writing and memory after Auschwitz" that Sicher and his contributors elucidate with care and insight. Sicher's extensive chapter, "The Burden of Memory: The Writing of the PostHolocaust Generation," introduces the volume's theme and amply surveys the literature. Both his discussion and the articles it previews identify a number ofsalient features that characterize the second-generation witness. First, the existence of a second-generation witness points to the continuing presence of the Holocaust as an event that cannot be confined to the historical past. Quoting Terrence Des Pres, Ellen Fine notes, "We live in the unrest of an aftermath." In that aftermath the simple knowledge that the 178 SHOFAR Fall 1999 Vol. 18, No. I Holocaust occurred creates in the second generation both trauma and a sense of obligation to remember the event that is somehow known yet not experienced (Fine, p. 185). In the second generation, the Holocaust manifests a perfect tense and allows no refuge from its claim. On the one hand, knowledge ofsurvivors' testimony may terrify and command; on the other, the ominous silence and indirection ofthe first generation may no less haunt and torment, themselves transferring the survivor's syndrome across generations (Dan Bar-On, p. 99). Second, the seeming duty ofthe second generation to live as "memorial candles" (Sicher, p. 24) reflects the moral and religious significance of memory (Alan Berger, pp. 253-54). Indeed, the volume bears as its motto the Beshtian axiom, "In remembrance is redemption." In the post-Holocaust generation, however, the very remembrance that is obliged takes on an ambivalent and problematic character. As "memorial candles," the second generation is born into another's story whose legacy it can neither escape nor adequately fulfill. The ambivalence is many-sided: the second generation must remember what it cannot know; must be itself but also the surrogate of the preceding generation of victims; must live in the demand of its own circumstance yet also be "there," attendant to the ordeal of another time and place. Moreover, its own experience has taught this generation to be wary of too much enthusiasm for remembrance . Recalling the silence ofparents who were reluctant to unleash their memories into the world of their children, the second generation suspects that not all acts of remembrance are redemptive. It knows that memory can cripple as well as heal (Sicher, pp. 26...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5165
Print ISSN
0882-8539
Pages
pp. 177-179
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
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