Different Voices: Women and the Holocaust

By Carol Rittner; John K. Roth | Go to book overview

1
Ida Fink

I want to talk about a certain time not measured in months and years.

IDA FINK

Nazi Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. Estimated at 1.7 million men, its troops--highly mechanized and with superior air power--rapidly overwhelmed the mobilized but outnumbered and ill-equipped Polish forces. By the end of September Poland surrendered, its army was demobilized, and Germany and its then-ally the Soviet Union divided up the devastated country. The Germans were determined to carry out their racial policies, to make the newly incorporated Polish territories judenrein (Jew-free). They began a massive program of roundups, ghettoization, deportation, and mass murder. Poland still bears the scars.

Excavating what she calls "the ruins of memory," Ida Fink remembers those events. So devastating that they cannot be "measured in months and years," her scraps of Holocaust time shatter the continuity of experience. Fink's voice merits hearing early on in this book because she reminds one of the difficulty and the importance of remembering.

Fink was born in Poland in 1921. German occupation of her country curtailed her study of music. Ghettoized in 1942, she survived the "Final Solution" in hiding. She emigrated to Israel in 1957 and went on to a distinguished writing career. In 1985 her book of autobiographical short stories, A Scrap of Time, won the first Anne Frank Prize for Literature. More recently she published The Journey, a novel about the Holocaust.

The issues Fink raises about memory and the Holocaust do not respect gender differences. And yet her writing makes it worth remembering that experience and

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Different Voices: Women and the Holocaust
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • ALSO BY CAROL RITTNER AND JOHN K. ROTH ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Maps and Photographs ix
  • Preface xi
  • Prologue Women and the Holocaust 1
  • General Suggestions for Further Reading 20
  • Chronology 22
  • Part One Voices of Experience 35
  • Notes 39
  • 1: Ida Fink 40
  • 2: Etty Hillesum 46
  • Notes 57
  • 3: Charlotte Delbo 58
  • 4: Isabella Leitner 65
  • 5: Olga Lengyel 69
  • 6: Livia E. Bitton Jackson 73
  • 7: Pelagia Lewinska 84
  • 8: Charlotte Delbo 99
  • 9: Gisella Perl 104
  • 10: Olga Lengyel 119
  • 11: Anna Heilman and Rose Meth 130
  • Notes 134
  • Notes 141
  • 12: Sara Nomberg-Przytyk 143
  • Suggestions for Further Reading 149
  • Part Two Voices of Interpretation 155
  • Notes 159
  • 13: Gisela Bock 161
  • Notes 179
  • 14: Marion A. Kaplan 187
  • Notes 207
  • 15: Sybil Milton 213
  • Notes 237
  • 16: Vera Laska 250
  • Notes 267
  • 17: Gitta Sereny 270
  • Preface 271
  • 18: Claudia Koonz 287
  • Notes 304
  • 19: Magda Trocmeé 309
  • Suggestions for Further Reading 317
  • Part Three Voices of Reflection 319
  • Notes 323
  • 20: Irena Klepfisz 324
  • 21: Charlotte Delbo 328
  • 22: Ida Fink 332
  • 23: Deborah E. Lipstadt 349
  • 24: Mary Jo Leddy 355
  • 25: Rachel Altman 363
  • Notes 372
  • 26: Joan Ringelheim 373
  • Notes 400
  • Appendices 406
  • Suggestions for Further Reading 419
  • Epilogue - Different Voices 421
  • Notes 426
  • Glossary 427
  • Index 431
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