front cover of Echoes From The Holocaust
Echoes From The Holocaust
A Memoir
Mira Ryczke Kimmelman
University of Tennessee Press, 1996
Echoes from the Holocaust
A Memoir
Mira Ryczke Kimmelman

"During the most difficult times of World War II," Mira Kimmelman writes, "I wondered whether the world really knew what was happening to us. I lived in total isolation, not knowing what was taking place outside the ghetto gates, outside the barbed wires of concentration camps. After the war, would anyone ever believe my experiences?"
Kimmelman had no way of preserving her experiences on paper while they happened, but she trained herself to remember. And now, as a survivor of the Holocaust, she has preserved her recollections for posterity in this powerful and moving book—one woman's personal perspective on a terrible moment in human history.
The daughter of a Jewish seed exporter, the author was born Mira Ryczke in 1923 in a suburb of the Baltic seaport of Danzig (now Gdansk, Poland). Her childhood was happy, and she learned to cherish her faith and heritage. Through the 1930s, Mira's family remained in the Danzig area despite a changing political climate that was compelling many friends and neighbors to leave. With the Polish capitulation to Germany in the autumn of 1939, however, Mira and her family were forced from their home. In calm, straightforward prose—which makes her story all the more harrowing—Kimmelman recalls the horrors that befell her and those she loved. Sent to Auschwitz in 1944, she escaped the gas chambers by being selected for  slave labor. Finally, as the tide of war turned against Germany, Mira was among those transported to Bergen-Belsen, where tens of thousands were dying from starvation, disease, and exposure. In April 1945, British troops liberated the camp, and Mira was eventually reunited with her father. Most of the other members of her family had perished.
In the closing chapters, Kimmelman describes her marriage, her subsequent life in the United States, and her visits to Israel and to the places in Europe where the  events of her youth transpired. Even when confronted with the worst in humankind, she observes, she never lost hope or succumbed to despair. She concludes with an eloquent reminder: "If future generations fail to protect the truth, it vanishes. . . . Only by remembering the bitter lesson of Hitler’s legacy can we hope it will never be repeated. Teach it, tell it, read it."
The Author: Mira Ryczke Kimmelman is a resident of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and lectures widely in schools about her experiences during the Holocaust.

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The End of Silence
Accounts of the 1965 Genocide in Indonesia
Soe Tjen Marching
Amsterdam University Press, 2017
In the late 1960s, between one and two million people were killed by Indonesian president Suharto's army in the name of suppressing communism-and more than fifty years later, the issue of stigmatisation is still relevant for many victims of the violence and their families. The End of Silence presents the stories of these individuals, revealing how many survivors from the period have been so strongly affected by the strategy used by Suharto and his Western allies that these survivors, still afraid to speak out, essentially serve to maintain the very ideology that led to their persecution.

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Ethical Encounters
Transnational Feminism, Human Rights, and War Cinema in Bangladesh
Elora Halim Chowdhury
Temple University Press, 2022

Ethical Encounters is an exploration of the intersection of feminism, human rights, and memory to illuminate how visual practices of recollecting violent legacies in Bangladeshi cinema can conjure a global cinematic imagination for the advancement of humanity. 

By examining contemporary, women-centered Muktijuddho cinema—features and documentaries that focus on the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971—Elora Chowdhury shows how these films imagine, disrupt, and reinscribe a gendered nationalist landscape of trauma, freedom, and agency. Chowdhury analyzes Bangladeshi feminist films including Meherjaan, and Itihaash Konna (Daughters of History), as well as socially-engaged films by activist-filmmakers including Jonmo Shathi (Born Together), and Shadhinota (A Certain Liberation), to show how war films of Bangladesh can generate possibilities for gender justice. 

Chowdhury argues that justice-driven films are critical to understanding and negotiating the layered meanings and consequences of catastrophic human suffering yet at the same time they hint at subjectivities and identities that are not reducible to the politics of suffering. Rather, they are key to creating an alternative and disruptive archive of feminist knowledge—a sensitive witnessing, responsible spectatorship, and just responsibility across time, and space. 

Drawing on Black and transnational feminist critiques, Chowdhury explores questions around women’s place, social roles, and modes of participation in war as well as the visual language through which they become legible as victims/subjects of violence and agents of the nation. Ethical Encounters illuminates the possibilities of film as a site to articulate an ethics that acknowledges a founding violence of the birth of a nation, recuperates it even if in fragments, and imagines differently the irreconcilable relationship between humanity, liberty, and justice.



front cover of The Ethics of Witnessing
The Ethics of Witnessing
The Holocaust in Polish Writers' Diaries from Warsaw, 1939-1945
Rachel Feldhay Brenner
Northwestern University Press, 2014

Winner, 2015 USC Book Award in Literary and Cultural Studies, for outstanding monograph published on Russia, Eastern Europe or Eurasia in the fields of literary and cultural studies

The Ethics of Witnessing investigates the reactions of five important Polish diaristswriters—Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz, Maria Dabrowska, Aurelia Wylezynska, Zofia Nalkowska, and Stanislaw Rembek—during the period when the Nazis persecuted and murdered Warsaw’s Jewish population. The responses to the Holocaust of these prominent prewar authors extended from insistence on empathic interaction with victims to resentful detachment from Jewish suffering. Whereas some defied the dehumanization of the Jews and endeavored to maintain intersubjective relationships with the victims they attempted to rescue, others selfdeceptively evaded the Jewish plight. The Ethics of Witnessing examines the extent to which ideologies of humanism and nationalism informed the diarists’ perceptions, proposing that the reality of the Final Solution exposed the limits of both orientations and ultimately destroyed the ethical landscape shaped by the Enlightenment tradition, which promised the equality and fellowship of all human beings.


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Bronka Schneider. Edited with Forewords by Erika Bourguignon and Barbara Hill Rigney.
The Ohio State University Press, 1998

Bronka Schneider and her husband, Joseph, were two of the thirty thousand Austrian Jews admitted as refugees to Great Britain between March 1938 and 2 September 1939. It was not until 1960, however, that Schneider wrote her memoir about the year she spent as a housekeeper, with Joseph as a butler, in a Scottish castle.

Schneider tells of daily encounters—with her employers, the English lady and her husband, a retired British civil servant who had spent many years in India; the village locals; other refugees; and a family of evacuees from the slums of Glasgow.

The editors have divided this memoir into chapters, adding headlines from the London Times as epigraphs. These headlines, reporting the escalating events of World War II, are in stark contrast to daily activities of the residents of this isolated region of Scotland. A commentary by Erika Bourguignon provides historical, political, and cultural background of this period.


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Exiled Memories
Stories of Iranian Diaspora
Zohreh T. Sullivan
Temple University Press, 2001
"I feel I am the wandering Jew who has no place to which she belongs. I thought I could settle down, but can't imagine staying. Whenever I bought a bar of soap and two came in the package, I thought there would be no need to buy a package of two because I would never last through the second. Why? Because I knew I was returning to Iran -- tomorrow. So too, I would buy the smallest size of toothpastes and jars of oil. Putting down roots here is an impossibility."

These are the words of one Iranian emigre, driven from Tehran by the revolution of 1979. They are echoed time and again in this powerful portrayal of loss and survival. Impelled by these word and her own concerns about nationality and identity, Zohreh Sullivan has gathered together here the voices of sixty exiles and emigres. The speakers come from various ethnic and religious backgrounds and range in age from thirteen to eighty-eight. Although most are from the middle class, they work in a variety of occupations in the United States. But whatever their differences, here they engage in remembering the past, producing a discourse about their lives, and negotiating the troubled transitions from one culture to another.

Unlike man  other Iranian oral history projects, Exiled Memories looks at the reconstruction of memory and identity through diasporic narratives, through a focus on the Americas rather than on Iran. The narratives included here reveal the complex ways in which events and places transform identities, how overnight radical s become conservatives, friends become enemies, the strong become weak. Indeed, the narratives themselves serve this function -- serving to transfer or transform power and establish credibility. They reveal a diverse group of people in the process of knitting the story of themselves with the story of the collective after it  has been torn apart.

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