Tagged: holocaust

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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  

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Paris—May 31

Visits to the Shoah Memorial, Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation, Place des Vosges—and, later, with Spanish-Parisian poet Irene Torra Mohendano, to the Le104 public/open art center, Canal de l’Ourcq, and a squatter-style poets’ pop-up where we hung out with Colombia poet Jorge Torres Medina.

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Watching “Shoah” for the 22nd time

Tomorrow I’ll be watching Claude Lanzmann’s film Shoah for the 22nd time. It’s 9.5 hours long. People sometimes watch the film in two sittings. In a way, we dont have time to schedule two different viewing days. But, more, the film’s power is one of a kind of mesmerization. Watching...