Admitting The Holocaust Essay Research Paper Admitting

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Admitting The Holocaust Essay, Research Paper Admitting the Holocaust by Lawrence L. Langer is a collection of essays about the Holocaust and how it is perceived in literature by our culture. Langer explores oral testimonies, diaries and fiction that consider the devastation of the Holocaust a central theme. He takes a look at human values in the light of that devastation. He exhibits the concern between literature and testimony. His hope is that the Holocaust experience will not be sentimentalized in the various forms of literature and media. Langer wants the Holocaust to be presented as it really was — evil. Throughout his book Langer makes reference to various other writers novels and articles about the death camps. He criticizes such authors as William Styron and

Bernard Malamud. According to Langer ( Beyond Theodicy: Jewish Victims and the Holocaust and Malamud s Jews and the Holocaust Experience, ), too many historical and cultural representations of the Nazis murderers try, by portraying the Jewish victims as dignified martyrs, to introduce the notion of spiritual redemption into the accounts of atrocities that need to be confronted without moral oversimplification. He rejects the works of Malamud who found in suffering a source or spiritual strength, a moral advantage. In the essays A Tainted Legacy: Remembering the Warsaw Ghetto and Ghetto Chronicles: Life at the Brink Langer criticizes accounts that present heroism, suffering and religious experience as a central theme. He writes: Jews were destroyed by humans, not God … in a

historical, not religious, moment of suffering … whether they chose or not, men died for nothing. He finds it unimaginable that any sane person could write, It is a great privilege to have been chosen to bear this. (Etty Hilsum) He also criticizes the usual portrayal of the Holocaust on television and stage ( The Americanization of the Holocaust on Stage and Screen ). To Langer, the language used in the portrayals is designed to console, not to confront. In describing his review of historical studies of the Holocaust, Langer strongly objects to the use of abstract terms like the murder of 6 million and says that the accounts of the total destruction of the European Jewry should be told in graphic detail. In Cultural Resistance to Genocide, Langer points out that by the use of

the expression cultural resistance to genocide we are given some type of consolation to the events before we even begin to grasp any type of understanding. He suggests that we are more accurate if we use the expression cultural witness to genocide. He is offended by memorials such as Yad Vashem in Jerusalem because it was created by the Heroes and Martyrs Remembrance Authority. Langer says: Jews were nullified, not sacrificed, murdered, not martyred. Lawrence Langer refers to the movie Schindler s List which gave a depiction of Holocaust victims, resisters or survivors. Although a candid portrayal of the Jewish ordeal in World War II, leaves the viewer with memories of a healing wound rather than a throbbing scar. He writes: the Holocaust story cannot be told in terms of heroic

dignity, moral courage and the triumph of the human spirit. He strives to point out that the media has its limitations in what they put out to the public. In this aspect, there must be a more conscience effort made to effectively communicate the absolute horror of the Holocaust to the public. In Fictional Facts and Factual Fictions: History in Holocaust literature, he criticizes Leslie Epstein s account of Chaim Rumkowski s leadership in King of the Jews. The actual details were not full of comedy and farce as Epstein related. He finds the same sort of artistic exploitation in other author s works which he suggests that maybe the fact of time has diminished the absolute horror, however, objects strongly to these renditions. He also criticizes Polish author, Tadeusz Borowski, (