Holocaust Mothers and Daughters: Family, History, and Trauma by Federica K. Clementi

By Federica K. Clementi

During this courageous and unique paintings, Federica Clementi makes a speciality of the mother-daughter bond as depicted in six works by means of girls who skilled the Holocaust, occasionally with their moms, occasionally now not. The daughters’ memoirs, which list the “all-too-human” characteristics of these who have been persecuted and murdered through the Nazis, express that the Holocaust can't be used to smartly segregate lives into the kinds of ahead of and after. Clementi’s discussions of ameliorations in social prestige, in addition to the patience of antisemitism and patriarchal buildings, help this aspect strongly, demonstrating the tenacity of trauma—individual, familial, and collective—among Jews in twentieth-century Europe.

“Do daughters suppose in a different way approximately their moms in occasions of extremity, reminiscent of warfare or genocide? during this illuminating examine of six autobiographical works by means of Jewish Holocaust sufferers or survivors, Federica Clementi indicates that their mother-daughter relationships keep on with a few of the related complicated, ambivalent, contradictory, and eventually devastating trajectories that symbolize these in usual instances. but in giving area and shut awareness to the intimate tales of ladies, Holocaust moms and Daughters discovers unforeseen facets of creativity and survival in instances of catastrophe.” —Marianne Hirsch, Columbia University

“[A] remarkable and erudite examine. . . . Clementi’s point of view is refreshingly feminist; she by no means flinches from spotting the patriarchal order and its outcomes. . . . this can be a welcome and critical book.” —Women’s assessment of Books

“Given its tricky topic, Holocaust moms and Daughters is clearly now not an off-the-cuff learn. Clementi makes the advanced subject obtainable to those that have a few historical past within the topic. And even if readers is probably not accustomed to many of the memoirists mentioned within the ebook, a lot may be discovered from Clementi’s research in their reviews. this can be very true for the final bankruptcy, approximately Anne Frank, with whom such a lot everybody should be familiar.”—Jewish publication Council

“Outstanding. . . . [An] very important addition to the ancient record.”—Modern Judaism

“After studying [this book], it's very unlikely to contemplate Jewish Holocaust reports with no being attentive to gender, relatives ties, the centrality of moms, and the specified dynamics of mother-daughter bonds that formed those writers’ existences―and possibly these of alternative women―during the battle and thereafter.” (Alexandra Garbarini, Williams collage)

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50 While she was recovering in the hospital, memories that she had kept at bay for decades rushed back to her. She then began to write her “difficult” memoir in German, confident that her mother, Alma Hirschel, would never learn of it because, by then an old lady in America, she refused to take notice of all things German. However, weiter leben became an immediate literary sensation; it was promptly made widely available in translation all over Europe and Japan. indb 18 10/15/2013 5:45:51 PM who had learned about the book’s success through a cousin in Switzerland told Alma about it.

Her daughter had written a memoir that was not simply a story of Shoah survival, exile, and emigration, but also the story of her emotionally complex relationship with a mother who was both a proto-feminist model and a patriarchal mother: a heroic, determined, brave, strong woman who was simultaneously an overcritical, pathologically suspicious, neurotic parent. 52 Caroline Schaumann analyzed the differences between the two texts, the most glaring of which is found in the two versions of the epilogue.

First, a brief word about the organizing principle of this work. World War II and the genocide of the Jews have birthed myriad different stories with many common features but also with many unique variations. I thought it productive, therefore, to identify six broad master plots within the larger frame of the Shoah experience. Consequently, I created six chapters that explore, through literature, each permutation and its effects on the mother-daughter relationship according to the variable circumstances within the larger historical context.

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