Download American Jewish Loss after the Holocaust by Laura Levitt PDF

By Laura Levitt

Many folks belong to groups which have been scarred by way of bad calamities. and plenty 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 kin used to be indirectly suffering from the Holocaust, Levitt grapples with the demanding situations of contending with traditional Jewish loss. She means that even if the reminiscence of the Holocaust could seem to overshadow all different kinds of loss for American Jews, it might probably additionally open up chances for attractive those extra own and daily legacies.

Weaving in discussions of her circle of relatives tales and writing in a fashion that's either deeply own and erudite, Levitt exhibits what occurs while private and non-private losses are visible subsequent to one another, and what occurs while tricky artistic endeavors or commemoration, equivalent to museum indicates or movies, are visible along traditional relations tales approximately extra intimate losses. In so doing she illuminates how via those ''ordinary stories'' we may perhaps create an alternate version for confronting Holocaust reminiscence in Jewish culture.

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I come back to these recollections in the present to illustrate some of the contradictions and tensions that continue to make it difficult for so many contemporary American Jews to value the other often all too ordinary legacies of 20th-century American Jewish life and loss. Through my account of these narrative moments, I will show not only how memory works, but also how particular memories, in their messy and contradictory articulations, help make the urgency of telling some of these other tales of loss in relation to the Holocaust more apparent.

These photographs fascinated me. I fell in love with their familiarity. I had to keep reminding myself of their poignancy, the fact that virtually all of the people whose lives are depicted in these photographs were killed in the Holocaust. There was something about seeing familiar Jewish faces, postures, and poses in this public space in the capital of the United States that moved me. I wanted to imagine these people as my own. I wanted these photographs to be those of my own family’s albums. But in the midst of this fantasy, I caught myself.

At the same time, I have also felt confident as an American. As such, unlike van Alphen, I did find some comfort in the heroic narratives of my country’s fight against Hitler. 9 Although there is much that I find unsatisfying in van Alphen’s book, 18 | Looking Out from under a Long Shadow especially in his broader conclusions,10 I admire the risks he takes in revealing his abiding disinterest and annoyance with a variety of truisms in Holocaust studies, and I follow him away from positivist history and into the terrain of imagination.

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