Holocaust survivors have different motivations for telling their stories: commemoration, prevention of future catastrophe and catharsis, among others. In the life histories of Rosi Shaked of Petah-Tiqwa and Magda Galambosh of Budapest, Hungary, the cathartic element is intensified to the extent that the stories sound and read like laments whose objects are the storytellers themselves. In general, written and oral Holocaust literature differs from the traditional response to catastrophe, from Rabbinical literature about the destruction of the Second Temple down to Memorial Books for communities destroyed in the Holocaust. The difference lies in its rejection of the double dialectic of sin leading to punishment and destruction leading to redemption. These life histories express such rejection, though told by women who grew up in a traditional environment and still lead an observant life. This contradiction results in two life histories whose content is rebellious, but whose form is compliant. The elements of traditional lament in the two life histories are examined in relation to the Book of Lamentations. These elements are expressions and gestures of grief, the mocking attitude of outsiders or enemies, inability to understand and accept the persona's predicament and expression of hope for restoration in the future. Two additional elements in the Book of Lamentations are missing in the survivors' stories: recognition of their sins and request for forgiveness. But two new elements appear in the life histories: preference of death to life, and reference to the context in which the stories are told, such as the tense political situation in Israel. Hope is a minor element in the laments as told by the survivors. Yet, like faith, hope is an essential need even for those who have every reason to lose their faith and hope.
|Translated title of the contribution||The Memory of the Holocaust as a Lament — The Life Histories of Two Holocaust Survivors Mourning Their Fate|
|Number of pages||15|
|Journal||מחקרי ירושלים בפולקלור יהודי|
|State||Published - 1994|