Chaim Melcer's Voice from the forest : remembering the Holocaust / Carolyn Lafferty.
This dissertation presents and examines Chaim Melcer's memoir Voice from the Forest: Remembering the Holocaust. Melcer survived the Holocaust in Poland by hiding in the woods after escaping from a train which took his family members to the Sobibor Death Camp. Later discovering that his father had also escaped, Melcer rescued his father from the ghetto and continued to protect him and provide for him in the final years of the war and after they immigrated to America.The dissertation examines Melcer's memoir as a portrait of the sacredness of family life within Jewish history. Melcer portrayed this sacredness by describing the sustaining power of his family members who conveyed words of encouragement and hope in life and in death and by describing the loving relationship which bound him to his father before, during, and after the Holocaust. In capturing the life that his family members shared and the strength which his family imparted to him, Melcer memorialized his family members within Jewish history and within human history.In his memoir, Melcer places his own personal history within the mythic structure of Creation-Revelation-Redemption which defines Judaism. The dissertation traces this theme in his work, compares the memoir's purpose to that of an ethical will, and contrasts Melcer's work with two other memoirs: Elie Wiesel's Night and Aharon Appelfeld's The Story of a Life.This study also examines how Melcer's decision to narrate his memoir to a transcriber influenced the style of the work. Finally, the dissertation explores the tradition of personal history writing which Melcer's work represents and Melcer's success in developing an authentic portrayal of the Holocaust by inviting his readers to share his experiences while also restricting their entry to the incomprehensible.
Record last modified: 2018-05-18 16:20:00
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