Different Voices: Women and the Holocaust

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

25
Rachel Altman

. . . As a child I yearned to know my grandmothers. As an adult, I still yearn to know them, seeking connection in continuity and context. Like an archeologist, I dig through the past, unearthing fragments, putting together the pieces in an attempt to envision what once was whole.

RACHEL ALTMAN

She came of age not in the thirties or forties but in the sixties. Jewish, born in America--Vietnam and Watergate are part of her history. A freelance writer, she is married and the mother of a daughter. Balancing the responsibilities of home and profession, she is like so many American women. But not completely, for, unlike so many American women, Rachel Federman Altman is the daughter of Polish Jews who survived the Holocaust and emigrated to the United States after their liberation. Raised in freedom and security but with the Holocaust as her legacy, she is part of the "Second Generation," as the children of Holocaust survivors are often called. Thus she can identify with the comment that another child of survivors makes in Helen Epstein book Children of the Holocaust: "Our parents were not like other parents, and we children were not like other children."

Naming a child after a deceased relative is an ancient Jewish custom. It is a concrete way to ensure a sense of continuity from generation to generation. As the firstborn, Altman was named after her two grandmothers--"Ruchel . . . my father's mother, who died in the gas chambers, and Miryam . . . my mother's mother, who died before the war began." Wistfully, but not surprisingly, her life is intertwined with theirs. For example, she looks like her Grandmother Ruchel, but the resemblance runs deeper than that. It includes, her father says, Ruchel's "independent spirit, her rebellious

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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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