‘Auf daß sie entsteigen der dunkelheit: die literarische bewältigung von KZ-erfahrung


Reiter, Andrea (1995) ‘Auf daß sie entsteigen der dunkelheit: die literarische bewältigung von KZ-erfahrung, Vienna, Austria, Löcker, 331pp.

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Description/Abstract

In this literary study of memoirs describing at first hand the horrors of German concentration camps, the principal question asked is: how did the survivors find the words to talk about experiences hitherto unknown, even unimaginable? Beyond being a mere ananlysis of discourse, this book reflexts the situations in camp that triggered these responses, and shows how the professional authors adapted certain literary genres (e.g. the travel story, the Hassidic tale) to serve as models for communication, while the vast majority who were not trained as writers merely used the form of the report. A comparison between these memoirs and the more frequently discussed camp novel identifies the different narrative strategies by which the two are determined.

The concluding chapter deals with the question of meaning. While few survivors attach any meaning to camp life itself, most agree that coping with its misery, and with the memory of that misery, was greatly enhanced if some purpose could be found for their existence, whether in the form of physical or psychological resistance or of hope for a future life, reunited with their loved ones. Writing about their experiences has helped all survivors to come to terms with their ordeal, but the Holocaust has not turned any vicitim into a professional writer who was not destined to become one anyway.

Most of the 130 texts discusses here were published in German between 1934 and the present; some famous Italian, French and Polish texts and a small amount of archive material have also been included for comparison.

Item Type: Book
ISBNs: 3854092466 (hardback)
9783854092469 (hardback)
Keywords: memoirs of survivors of nazi concentration camps, literary anaysis
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PT Germanic literature
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D731 World War II
Divisions: University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Humanities > Modern Languages
ePrint ID: 66838
Date Deposited: 06 Oct 2009
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 18:47
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/66838

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