Reflecting on “Second Generation Voices”

Reflecting on “Second Generation Voices”

A few standout quotes from the latest addition to the Mischlinge Exposé Bibliography: “Second Generation Voices: Reflections by Children of Holocaust Survivors & Perpetrators”, edited by Alan Berger & Naomi Berger:

“The Holocaust cannot be purged, erased, figured out, dealt with. It is with me every day, one way or the other. I rarely pass a homeless person on the street without stopping to give something, and when I don't I feel enormously guilty. I cannot bear to be identified as the oppressor in anyway at all...” —Julie Salamon

“While being children of survivors does not give us any privileges, it does impose a fa- reaching responsibility. We were given life and placed on earth with a solemn obligation... Our task is to remind the world of the Holocaust to prevent it's recurrence. And to understand our parents and their experiences, we must first at least attempt to penetrate the darkness.” —Menachem Rosensaft

“We have learned from our parents' experiences that indifference to the suffering of others is in itself a crime. Because of who we are, we constitute a moral force whose voice can have an impact on humankind. We must, both individually and collectively, raise this voice on behalf of all, Jews and non-Jews alike, who are subjected to discrimination and oppression, or who are threatened by annihilation, anywhere in the world. And we may never be passive, or allow others to be passive, in the face of oppression, for we know only too well that the ultimate consequence of apathy and silence was embodied forever in the flames of Auschwitz and the mass graves of Bergen-Belsen.”  —Menachem Rosensaft

“Where do I find my identities? In my professional or private sphere, or in one in which profession or private life form a unity? In a national German character? In a German Europeanism? In cosmopolitanism? In Christianity? In which religion or ethics – or can one be only a humanist atheist after the Holocaust? In which society, monocultural or multicultural? After the Holocaust I refuse to answer the question in which race I could find my identity, because in German history this question led to the Holocaust and is still part of an anachronistic discussion about a future mono or multicultural society that has long become multicultural.” —Gottfried H. Wagner, Great-grandson of Richard Wagner

Heinrich Heine: Der Atlas

Heinrich Heine: Der Atlas

Continuing our exploration of Heinrich Heine's poetry with his “Der Atlas” as set by Franz Schubert (and performed below by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau):

Unhappy Atlas that I am,
I must bear a world,
    The whole world of sorrows.

Ich unglückseliger Atlas! Eine Welt,
Die ganze Welt der Schmerzen muss
    ich tragen.

Heinrich Heine: “Die Lorelei”

Heinrich Heine: “Die Lorelei”

Exploring the poetry of Heinrich Heine. Beginning with his famous “Die Lorelei”:

I don't know the reason why
I should be feeling so sad;
A tale of times gone by
Keeps running through my head.

The air is cool, day is sinking,
And quiet flows the Rhine;
The mountain peak is glinting
In the evening's parting shine.

The loveliest maiden is sitting
Above there, wondrously fair;
Her golden jewels aglitter,
She is combing her golden hair.

The comb she is holding is golden,
She is singing a song so weird,
So eerie and so bold,
As never an ear has heard.

In his little craft the boatman
Is seized by a woeful love;
He sees not the cliffs approaching,
His eyes are fastened above.

I fancy the waves will cover
Both boatman and boat before long;
And that was done to her lover
By the Lorelei and her song.

Translated by Felix Pollak

Ich weiß nicht, was soll es bedeuten,
dass ich so traurig bin;
ein Märchen aus alten Zeiten,
das kommt mir nicht aus dem Sinn.

Die Luft ist kühl und es dunkelt,
und ruhig fließt der Rhein;
der Gipfel des Berges funkelt
im Abendsonnenschein.

Die schönste Jungfrau sitzet
dort oben wunderbar;
ihr goldnes Geschmeide blitzet,
sie kämmt ihr goldenes Haar.

Sie kämmt es mit goldenem Kamme
und singt ein Lied dabei;
das hat eine wundersame,
gewaltige Melodei.

Den Schiffer im kleinen Schiffe
ergreift es mit wildem Weh;
er schaut nicht die Felsenriffe,
er schaut nur hinauf in die Höh.

Ich glaube, die Wellen verschlingen
am Ende Schiffer und Kahn;
und das hat mit ihrem Singen
die Lore-Ley getan.

Littell: The Crucifixion of the Jews

Littell: The Crucifixion of the Jews

Franklin H. Littell's The Crucifixion of the Jews: The Failure of Christians to Understand the Jewish Experience was a deeply compelling read that I couldn't put down until completion! A couple of quick quotes from my reading:

“…the dehumanization of other human persons is only acceptable to those who have themselves lost human features.”

“What defeated us, ultimately, was Jewry's indestructible optimism, our eternal faith in the goodness of man - or rather, in the limits of his degradation… we paid a terrible price for our hope…”

Notes on Children of Job

Notes on Children of Job

I recently finished Alan L. Berger's book, Children of Job, in which I found new inspiration for the Mischlinge Exposé, and found myself hoping for a tikkun (fixing/rectification) for the world.

“The second generation is the most meaningful aspect of our work. Their role in a way is even more difficult than ours. They are responsible for a world they didn't create. They who did not go through the experience most transmit it.” —Elie Wiesel (Introduction)

Alan L. Berger: Children of Job

“The second generation witnesses also seek to achieve tikkun of the self whereby they bear witness in a manner that is healing.”

“The only post – Holocaust theology that matters is one that recognizes the importance of compassion.”

“For second – generation witnesses, it is the desire to know their parents lives better that serves as a vehicle for understanding the impact of the holocaust on their own existence.”

“The paradox here is that the second generation wants to belong to the Jewish people, where is the survivor rages at his suffering caused by belonging.”

“The second – generation witness has a moral obligation to attest with precision to the facts of the Holocaust and to the event's continuing impact. This is one reason that members of the second-generation immerse themselves in books about the Shoah and why they do not substitute their imagination for their parents' memory.”

“By writing the story of their parents' survival and it's impact on their own lives, these second – generation witnesses hope to share the message of common human vulnerability, thereby helping to prevent Holocaust modes of thought from operating in the world.”