Holocaust Studies The Definition Of Term Paper

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For example, the essentially female nature of the author's suffering is embodied in her tale of Karola, a woman who cleverly hides the age of her daughter, so she will allow the child to be admitted through the gates of Auschwitz by her side. Sara Nomberg-Przytyk implies that a woman will have a special reason, as a mother, to be clever and devious in avoiding the horrors of the Nazis and ensuring the survival of the next generation of Jews.

When Karola fears Dr. Mengle will target her other child, a son, the woman hides him from the doctor's eyes and experimentation. To do so, however, she must draw upon the collective force of all of the women of the camp, who respond to Karola not just as a Jew, but also as a woman and a mother. The other women's collective spirit highlights the author's communism and belief in socialist bonding, as well as her implied claim that the Holocaust was a unique experience, dependant upon the individual's identity. This is not to deny the Jewish quality of the Holocaust, merely to assert that different individuals embracing different identities will have different experiences of the event.


Wiesel's Night discusses a formerly religious self whose life understanding is completely reconfigured by the experience of threatened eradication. The author, in the lived experience he chronicles dwells in a metaphorical night of the self, of the spirit, and of his emerging identity. What should be a coming of age narrative, of an assertion of confidence of Wiesel's Jewish self takes place against a background that attempts to eradicate this Jewish self. The central metaphor of Night is of the removal of the Jews that takes place at night, and the darkness of the author's forced marches through and between camps. It is also the nighttime of his soul, as the young boy despairs of his
...Wiesel grows angry with God -- thus the night of the title is metaphorically of the boy's quashed sense of a Jewish self, his injured soul, and the blackness of the world around him at night, and in the nighttime of the world's madness. Levi's Survival takes a more positive view during the chronicle, believing that like a crushed flower, if he survives, he has won against his oppressors, while Borowski's This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentleman uses the euphemisms for death of the oppressors as an example of the absurdity as well as the horror of his experience.


Holocaust writers write as a way of preserving their past, often a Jewish past that now seems lost. The lived experience of the Holocaust was to live fearing that one's life and entire culture would be destroyed at any moment. The Holocaust was the cumulating act of fear and hatred, of anti-Semitism at its most powerful. The Nazis attempted to destroy European Jewry, but the fact that the survivors live on to write means that the Nazis did not win. However, survivors feel as though they have a responsibility to honor the dead, to ensure that those who were murdered have a living legacy in print.

The reasons for reading this literature are often different, however. True, a reader may wish to gain a sense of what Jewish life was like, before, after and during the experience of the Holocaust. But the reader did not know the individuals described, or experience the way of life the writer is attempting to make immortal in print. The reader may even be searching for a more generalized understating of why human beings, not just anti-Semites, commit atrocities, and why the totalitarian mindset encourages individuals to perpetuate evil activities. Both reader and writer embark upon a similar path of attempted understanding of a horrific experience that is both extraordinary and fortunately, long enough in the past that some reflective understanding is possible. But the motivations for reading and writing will always have profoundly different rationales and motivations.

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