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Holocaust Memoir as Literature and History

“Literature is supplementary, not antithetical, to history: it allows, and in the best instances demands readers to universalize, empathize, to visualize and imagine, not merely to be informed…Literature, though, affects us in ways that even the most brutal history cannot. It vivifies and propels an event, however geographically and temporally and psychologically removed, towards the personal and immediate. If history teaches and (harshly) informs, then literature rouses and intimately disturbs. Literature is an emotional chronicle, a history of the intangible, a quest to impart sentiment, not information. Conveyance of the Holocaust is an impossible but necessary appeal to our imagination; and literature is the pathos to history’s logos. Not merely learning about, but identifying with.” Read the rest on The Atlantic: The Holocaust’s Uneasy Relationship With Literature by Menachem Kaiser, Fulbright Fellow in Lithuania.

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