Voicing the Void: Muteness and Memory in Holocaust Fiction

By Sara R. Horowitz | Go to book overview

9
The Chain of Testimony

do not destroy the cosmos of words,
do not dissect with blades of hate
the sound, born in concert with
the breath.
--Nelly Sachs

After a long hiatus, the narrator of Ida Fink short fiction "A Scrap of Time" reaches into "the ruins of memory" to narrate the story of her city's "first action"--that is, the first roundup of Jews for mass slaughter. A Jewish woman who survived the Holocaust as a child in Poland (we never learn how), she offers as testimony her recollection of what happened to her and to others on that day. She introduces her narrative with the following:

I want to talk about a certain time not measured in months and years. For so long I have wanted to talk about this time, and not in the way I will talk about it now, not about this one scrap of time. I wanted to, but I couldn't, I didn't know how. I was afraid, too, that this second time, which is measured in months and years, had buried the other time under a layer of years, that this second time had crushed the first and destroyed it within me. But no. Today, digging around in the ruins of memory, I found it fresh and untouched by forgetfulness. (3)

Although the woman finds her memory of that morning "still fresh; its colors and aromas have not faded" (5), although she (re)affirms both the

-217-

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Voicing the Void: Muteness and Memory in Holocaust Fiction
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • 1- Introduction - The Idea of Fiction 1
  • 2- The Figure Of Muteness 33
  • 3- Voices from The Killing Ground 47
  • 4- The Mute Language Of Brutality 71
  • 5- The Reluctant Witness 95
  • 6- Muted Chords - From Victim to Survivor 109
  • 7- The Night Side Of Speech 157
  • 8- Refused Memory 181
  • 9- The Chain Of Testimony 217
  • Notes 227
  • Bibliography 245
  • Index 265
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