Holocaust in Literature and Film: Modern Hebrew Literature & Culture in Translation
In the first decade of the new millennium, the so called "Second
Generation", children of Holocaust survivors reached maturity. Only in their
40s and 50s they finally began confronting and reconstructing their parents'
experiences, as well as their own nightmarish childhoods. These include
striking narratives Our Holocaust by Amir Gutfreund and Corner People by Esty
G. Hayim as well as films like Walk on Water. The third generation is also
returning to the forbidden story with prize winning films like "The
apartment." The quintessential Holocaust narrative The Diary of Anne Frank
appeared in 1947, one year prior to the establishment of the Jewish State.
Nevertheless, Israeli culture "waited" until the public trial of Adolf
Eichmann in 1961 to hesitantly face the momentous catastrophe. The Zionist
wish to forge a "New Jew" motivated this suppression, at least in part.
Aharon Appelfeld's stories were the first Holocaust-related works to enter the
modernist literary scene in the 1960s, followed by the cryptic verse of Dan
Pagis, a fellow child survivor. It was not until 1988 that this practice of
concealing the past was broken, when two Israeli-born pop singers, children of
survivors, released the watershed documentary "Because of That War."
This course will follow and analyze the transformation of Israeli literature
and cinema from instruments of suppression into a means of processing this
national trauma. While Israeli works constitute much of the course's
material, European and American film and fiction play comparative roles.