Edited By Lucyna Aleksandrowicz-Pędich and Jacek Partyka
The Mother-Daughter Dyad in Bożena Keff’s On Mother and the Fatherland
In a poignant farewell scene from Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything is Illuminated the character of Augustine’s sister – Lista – poses a question which is crucial to the understanding of the post-Holocaust experience and literature, namely: “Is the war over?” (193) This query of manifold interpretations among many implies the impossibility of total liberation from war experiences. It echoes Alvin Rosenfeld’s apprehension, contained in his essay “Primo Levi: The Survivor as Victim”, that “Levi’s violent end raises once again the possibility that the Nazi crimes might continue to claim victims decades after Nazism itself had been defeated” (187). The psychological burden of personal torture, the experience of collective persecution, the witnessing of Nazi atrocities, as well as the act of surviving made the post war life of many a Jew a constant agony, frequently resulting in suicide (Rosenfeld 187). Therefore, for the children of Holocaust survivor parents like Art Spiegelman, whose Maus was a pivotal point of reference for On Mother and the Fatherland, and for Bożena Keff, the war will never be over. The trauma of War World II left their parents marred, and even though they made an effort to progress with their lives – i.e. have families and bear children – the specter of the Holocaust constantly loomed at the back of their heads, thus, indirectly affecting the lives of their offspring. The author herself confirms the autobiographical nature of the text under consideration: “I am not denying that my mother was the template here, and some passages...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.