American Jewish Loss after the Holocaust by Laura Levitt

By Laura Levitt

Many people belong to groups which were scarred through bad calamities. and lots of folks come from households that experience suffered grievous losses. How we ponder those legacies of loss and the methods they tell one another are the questions Laura Levitt takes up during this provocative and passionate book.

An American Jew whose kinfolk used to be indirectly stricken by the Holocaust, Levitt grapples with the demanding situations of contending with usual Jewish loss. She means that even supposing the reminiscence of the Holocaust could appear to overshadow all different kinds of loss for American Jews, it might additionally open up probabilities for attractive those extra own and daily legacies.

Weaving in discussions of her circle of relatives tales and writing in a way that's either deeply own and erudite, Levitt exhibits what occurs while private and non-private losses are obvious subsequent to one another, and what occurs whilst tricky artistic endeavors or commemoration, similar to museum shows or motion pictures, are noticeable along traditional family members tales approximately extra intimate losses. In so doing she illuminates how via those ''ordinary stories'' we may possibly create another version for confronting Holocaust reminiscence in Jewish culture.

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I do these readings because, as I have experienced it, these complicated texts can make visible heretofore invisible dimensions of how we deal with loss. They can help us to see more familiar processes in new and often unexpected and illuminating ways. Throughout this book, I show what happens when public and private losses are seen next to each other, what happens when difficult works of art or commemoration are seen alongside ordinary family stories about more intimate losses. For some this will be uncomfortable.

She embraces this identification repeatedly. In this way her refusal to forget is made visceral, demanding that she succumb. 11 For her there is no final reckoning, these enactments are ongoing. In Bashert the past can and does interrupt the present. Fidelity is not about holding on; rather, it is about being confronted again and again with still living versions of antisemitism. It is manifest in both minor slights and larger stereotypes. For this narrator, surrendering to these Jewish ghosts is an act of defiance and resistance in the present.

I also wanted more, and judging by the discussion following the talk, others also wanted to say more about the Tower of Faces. The account Hirsch offered at Haverford is echoed in the final chapter of Family Frames. I now turn to her text as a way of capturing the texture of her presentation. S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, she thought a great deal about the role of photographs in preserving and transmitting Holocaust memory, asking, “Do pictures provide the second- and third-generation questioner with a more concrete, a better access to the abandoned parental world than stories can?

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