Category: holocaust

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Larry Eigner writes through survivor of the death camp at Chelmno

Larry Eigner’s “Dance.” He’s made a poem that uses language spoken by Simon Srebnik as he revisits Chelmno with Claude Lanzmann (decades after having barely survived that death camp). The Eigner poem is discussed by Michael Davidson in this essay: http://www.poetspath.com/Scholarship_Project/davidson.html .

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Representations of the Holocaust — fall 2021 course

I have taught “Representations of the Holocaust” now for 36 years. This time we gathered together “in the room,” as we like to put it. Yes, in the room, having been kept from such human spaces for nearly three semesters. How could this course have been taught in any other...

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Prewar photo of doomed Filreis family members

Members of the Filreis family (all of them doomed to die later in the ghetto or to be gassed at Treblinka) gathered in a Warsaw graveyard, near family members’ plots, during my grandfather Ben’s brief visit back to Poland (in part to persuade family members to emigrate to Brooklyn—he did...

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Leon Bass, liberator

Leon Bass. I knew Leon a little bit (he lived in the Philly area) & he once came to speak to the students in my course on the holocaust & survivor testimony. He was a liberator of Buchenwald and the experience was both traumatic and charted a course through a...

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I was asked to write about Auschwitz in 200 words

I was asked to write 200 words about Auschwitz for some sort of commemoration marking 75 years after liberation. I wrote what is below—actually 267 words. Survivor testimony presents its great challenges, but it is a subjectivity so intensely collective that it makes for a new kind of objectivity. One...

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Nelly Sachs: three poems

I’m including a sampling of three poems by Nelly Sachs in my course on representations of the holocaust. Here is a link to a PDF copy of these three: https://media.sas.upenn.edu/afilreis/holocaust/Sachs-Nelly_selected-poems.pdf