Professor Katrya Byram
13 February 2014
The Continuing Impacts of the Holocaust on Families Analyzed through German Literature
“Mainly I remember ARGUING with him… and being told that I couldn’t do anything as well as he could” – Art
“And now that you’re becoming successful, you feel bad about proving your father wrong.” – Pavel
“No matter what I accomplish, it doesn’t seem much compared to surviving Auschwitz.” Art
Maus Volume 2, Page 44
The second portion of the semester has had a focus on how the Holocaust has continued to cause devastation and familial conflict even after the war ended. Of the texts we have read, Maus by Art Speigelman and Still Alive by Ruth Kluger were two very different accounts of the Holocaust, however there was one strong continuity between the texts: the effects of the Holocaust were not exclusive to any single person or family, survivors and their offspring continued to suffer long after escaping the camps. The constant tension documented in Maus between Speigelman and his father was not exclusive to their family as Holocaust survivors; Ruth Kluger also incorporates her family struggles into her book by detailing the differences between her and her mother, even after her mother has passed away. Because their experiences differ, with Speigelman being the son of a Holocaust victim and Kluger actually enduring it, the texts took different forms, both linguistically and aesthetically, to communicate their messages of familial conflict.
Speigelman uses the selected quote to engage the reader and make them aware of how it feels to be raised by Holocaust victims, his dad in particular. In this passage, Speigelman speaks with his friend Pavel about how he has recently been experie...
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...is father did allowed the reader to really see the torment Nazi Germany brought on families. Kluger’s specific word choice – calling her mother paranoid and often eluding to the distain she felt towards her – also allowed the reader to experience the resentment among the family members. Even still, the Holocaust’s terror is not exclusive; those who endured it struggled to find their way in the world, and their family members struggle to understand why their parents act as they do sometimes, as well as how to come to terms with the fact that their parents had to endure such a terrible time.
Klüger, Ruth. Still Alive: A Holocaust Girlhood Remembered. New York: Feminist at the City University of New York, 2001. Print.
Spiegelman, Art, Louise Fili, and Art Spiegelman. MAUS: A Survivor's Tale, II: And Here My Troubles Began. New York: Pantheon, 1991. Print.