Abstract

Only later in life have some women voiced their Holocaust experiences. One example is Ruth Klüger's acclaimed German autobiography, weiter leben-eine Jugend (1992). The Holocaust has also influenced female fiction writers. American-born Sherri Szeman wrote the Auschwitz novel The Kommandant's Mistress (1993). Both engaging texts consist of non-chronological memory fragments.

Szeman's two narrators, a female Jewish concentration camp inmate and a Nazi camp commander, strive for hegemony as they reveal their common sexual encounters in the concentrationary world. For Szeman, the Holocaust, despite its magnitude and impersonality, provides a symbolic language and a framework in which to express individual victimization of women, and crucially, the possibility of survival. A juxtaposition of autobiographical and fictional memoirs reveals a contrasting depiction of remembered history, especially with regard to women. Good intentions and literary talent aside, the dilemma of fictional representation of the Holocaust arises, and questions of verisimilitude and author's responsibility demand response. Critics continue to grapple with these issues.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5165
Print ISSN
0882-8539
Pages
pp. 49-63
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
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