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Consciously or not, nearing the end of their lives both authors felt that they should go straight to the “heart of darkness” in their next work. In the middle of the 1990s, when each of the two had already achieved considerable literary recognition and as the end of 20th century drew near, they took up subjects with a link to mass violence and death and created works of dark gravity which obsessively circle around a kind of black hole that gradually sucks in the characters and the readers.
The last world war began amidst a refugee crisis. In discussions of refugees today, many European politicians neglect to mention how exclusion led to murder the last time around.
What does local participation in the Holocaust—victims who refer to their murderers by the diminutive versions of their names—teach us about intimacy? About the fragility of the border between good and evil? About what it means to be a human being? For Marci Shore, these are the central questions addressed by Agnieszka Holland’s film In Darkness, Jan Gross‘s and Irena Grudzinska Gross’s book Golden Harvest, and Tadeusz Słobodzianek’s play Our Class. These works reveal the extent to which Poles are coming to see the history of Jews—their lives and their deaths—as a history about themselves, and about all of us.
I. Introduction One could say that Germans have “difficulties” with their past. Posthumous generations have started to accept collective responsibility for the moral, political, and financial consequences of the “Third Reich”. Therefore, younger age groups still see National Socialism (and not the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989) as the central historical event. German …
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