A Conversation about the Holocaust with Gabriele M. Schwab
In Holocaust studies, the locution “second generation” has come to describe children of survivors. Among formative impacts on this area would be Holocaust literature as well as memoir narratives, the video archive testimonies, and theories of representation and transgenerational repair. In his interview, Martin Beck Matuštík probes Gabriele M. Schwab's personal working through her past as the second generation of a perpetrator nation. Instead of answering head-on some raw, unscreened questioning, she lends voice to her own haunting questions: “How can the perpetrators or their descendants speak?” Her courage to enter the vocative declinations of grammar narrates a Midrash that could have been composed by Jewish camp survivors debating with G-d in afterlife the meaning of the Covenant as much as told by Ivan Karamazov writing the Grand Inquisitor after the Holocaust: “I have had many questions and doubts about the existence of Heaven and Hell. Now I don’t care anymore about the question whether you exist or not, because even if you insist, knowing that you allowed the Germans to kill millions of innocent people and that you can tolerate such unfathomable cruelty in the world, I no longer want to have anything to do with you.” In the symposium where these conversations took place, something groundbreaking had changed that made our contemporaries more attuned to a transgenerational difficulty, for which there is no easy pharmakon.
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