By Phyllis Lassner (auth.)

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Additional resources for Anglo-Jewish Women Writing the Holocaust: Displaced Witnesses

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Instead, I focus on the forms and voices of women who raise issues closely aligned with those of Anglo-Jewish women writing other forms of Holocaust literature. Because, as so many Holocaust writers attest, the ordinary language of our everyday rarely even approximates their extreme circumstances and suffering, many forms of irony become favored devices of women’s writing to express the lexical and emotional distance. Several Kindertransport memoirs and fictions ironically juxtapose personal narratives with allusions to fairy tales in order to depict the often inchoate feelings of dispossession and disorientation as responses are complicated by the displacement of childhood with the onset of adolescence.

192) The emotional effect of this charade is often expressed in women’s Kindertransport memoirs as another transformation, as thinking of oneself, as Lore Segal recalls, ‘for decades to come, of being a species of monster’ (‘Bough’ 239). And when the Kinder arrived in Britain, this image was only reinforced, mirroring in kindness and good intentions their position as pariah in Europe. In effect, the misunderstandings that so often shaped their initial British experiences were reflected back to them as an image of a child monster – a changeling.

Harris and Oppenheimer 229) If reunions were traumatic for the Kinder, they were equally so for parents. Renate Buchthal recalls that her younger sister became so attached to her foster parents that she ‘became theirs’, never to bond with her own parents again despite their having found work close by (Leverton and Lowensohn 50). As a result, Meetings were painful for everybody. It was hard for our parents to see us as someone else’s children and I found each parting agonizing, expressing this by more sullen and resentful behavior to my long suffering foster parents.

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