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Poetry and Truth

Variations on Holocaust Testimony


Jerry Schuchalter

The 1990s saw the appearance of many new works that have redefined and embellished the canon of Holocaust literature. While many of these works have quickly become classics, some have raised new questions about the processes of canonicity. This study concentrates particularly on works in German by Jewish Holocaust survivors written and published approximately fifty years after the fateful cataclysm, focusing on such crucial issues as genre and testimony. Despite the long shadow cast by the Holocaust on subsequent generations, the author shows that narratives on the Holocaust have continued to thrive, offering inventive interpretations of questions that have been thought to defy explanation.
Contents: Binjamin Wilkomirski’s Bruchstücke (1995) – «Mein verwundetes Herz»: Das Leben der Lilli Jahn 1900-1944 (2002) – Ruth Klüger’s weiter leben (1999) and Other Writings – Jakob Littner’s Palimpsest – Jean Améry and the Accidental Jew – Victor Klemperer’s Ich will Zeugnis ablegen bis zum letzten: Tagebücher 1933-1945 (1995) – Marcel Reich-Ranicki’s Mein Leben (1999) – Jan Philipp Reemtsma or «the fortune to have been born late» (die Gnade der späten Geburt).