In her I Was a Child of Holocaust Survivors published in Canada in 2006, Bernice Eistenstein undertakes an attempt to cope with the inherited memories of the Holocaust. As a child of the Holocaust survivors, she tries to deal with the trauma her parents kept experiencing years after WWII had finished. Eisenstein became infected with the suffering and felt it inescapable. Eisenstein’s text, which is one of the first Jewish-Canadian graphic memoirs, appears to represent the voice of the children of Holocaust survivors not only owing to its verbal dimension, but also due to the drawings incorporated into the text. Therefore, the text becomes a combination of a memoir, a family story, a philosophical treatise and a comic strip, which all prove unique and enrich the discussion on the Holocaust in literature. For these reasons, the aim of this article is to analyze the ways in which Eisenstein deals with her postmemory, to use Marianne Hirsch’s term (1997 ), as well as her addiction to the Holocaust memories. As a result of this addiction, the legacy of her postmemory is both unwanted and desired and constitutes Bernice Eisenstein’s identity as the eponymous child of Holocaust survivors.
The aim of this paper is to look at Lisa Appignanesi’s novel The memory man ( 2005), which won the 2005 Holocaust Literature Award, and examine the patterns of remembering and forgetting as indispensable aspects conducive to the formation of Jewish identity. The main character of the book, Bruno Lind, a Holocaust survivor and a scientist dealing professionally with the complicated neurological issues of remembering and losing memory, tries to recollect his war memories during a journey to the places of his youth which are at the same time the sites of his and his family’s trauma. The Holocaust, change of identities, the war memories and finally the stay at the DP camps and escape to Canada return to Bruno Lind’s mind in order to be passed onto the next generation and remembered. This article shows Appignanesi’s novel as an important contribution to the discussion on the role of memory in Jewish identity.
Since “we live in a culture of confession” (Gilmore 2001: 2; Rak 2005: 2) a rapidly growing popularity of various forms of life writing seems understandable. The question of memory is usually an important part of the majority of autobiographical texts. Taking into account both the popularity of life writing genres and their recent proliferation, it is interesting to see how the question “what would we be without memory?” (Sebald 1998 : 255) resonates within more experimental auto/biographical texts such as a graphic memoir/novel I Was a Child of Holocaust Survivors (2006) by Bernice Eisenstein and a volume of illustrated poetry and a biographical elegy published together as Correspondences (2013) by Anne Michaels and Bernice Eisenstein. These two experimental works, though representing disparate forms of writing, offer new stances on visualization of memory and correspondences between text and visual image. The aim of this paper is to analyze the ways in which the two authors discuss memory as a fluid concept yet, at the same time, one having its strong, ghostly presence. The discussion will also focus on the interplay between memory and postmemory as well as correspondences between the texts and the equally important visual forms accompanying them such as drawings, portraits, sketches, and the bookbinding itself.