From One, Many: Ruth Klxc3X9Cger'S Weiter Leben And The Evolution Of Holocaust Memories
In her 1991 memoir weiter leben, Ruth Klüger attacks the development of the culture of remembrance that has sprung up surrounding the Holocaust. She views rituals such as Holocaust tourism and memorial visitation as misguided and ineffective, and works to destabilize the very idea of memorial practice. However, the appearance of these arguments in a memory-based text is paradoxical and calls into question the extent to which memorials and memoirs can fulfill the proposed goals of moral improvement and historical change. Klüger's memoir provides a compact introduction to the pervasiveness and complexity of memorial discourse and practice in the Western world today. The use of memoir, a genre defined by veracity, introduces the importance of finding an essential and objective truth in the Holocaust. How and where this truth is to be found is subject to much debate, and the discussion encompasses speculation on the intrinsic importance of place and the power of the Holocaust to instruct through mere exposure. This paper analyzes the present memorial culture through the lens of weiter leben and posits that the high visibility of the Holocaust as a theme in Western, and especially American, culture and education has spawned modes of remembrance that depart from the core of the event. These modes of remembrance take root in the individual, calling into question the nature of education, the existence of truth, and the idea of the Holocaust as a discrete historical incident. !
McBride, Patrizia C.
M.A. of Germanic Studies
Master of Arts
dissertation or thesis