This extraordinary book is based on more than fifty diaries of Jewish Holocaust victims of all ages, written while the events described were actually taking place. Many of the writers did not survive. Patterson's book is unique not only in the number of diaries and original texts it examines but also in the questions it raises and in the approach it takes from within Jewish traditions and contexts.
Patterson has organized his book around a series of themes that lead to a deeper understanding of the meaning of these works for both their writers and their readers, affirming the Holocaust diary as a form of spiritual resistance. Throughout, he draws upon his impressive knowledge of Jewish texts, ancient and modern-Torah, Talmud, Midrash, Zohar, the medieval commentators, the Hasidic masters, and modern Jewish philosophers and thinkers.
In Along the Edge of Annihilation David Patterson illuminates the spiritual and physical devastation experienced by the Jews of Europe during the Holocaust, and shows how they chose life and the spirit of life in the midst of the Inferno.
PrefaceAcknowledgmentsOpening RemarksThe Writer and the WritingThe Consciousness of the BookThe Measure of TimeThe Chronicle of the HolyAssailing GodThe Crumbling of CreationMeaning UndoneThe Fragmentation of Home and FamilyThe Assault on the FeminineThe Suffocation of the ChildThe Human Image DefiledDeath and the Death of DeathClinging to LifeReopening Remarks: The Assignation of the ReaderNotesBibliography of Works CitedIndex