And Yet I Still Have Dreams is a departure from many Holocaust memoirs. Angry, pugnacious, contemptuous of the stereotypes found in some survivor literature, and honest about the shortcomings of its characters, the book is based on interviews with "Alex," an anonymous survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto and three concentration camps, following his life from a childhood in a family of assimilated Jews to his coming to terms as an older man with his memories. The book spares neither the reader nor Alex's own family a connection to seldom-discussed, and unflattering, aspects of the Holocaust: the gulf between rich and poor Jews and how this translated into everyday survival; the refusal to see himself or Jews in general as heroes or victims; his own self-absorption as a teen in the ghetto; and his "privileged" family's near-indifference to the suffering of those around them. But his consideration of his life and the issues raised are just as compelling - and far more rarely seen. Drawing on psychological, cultural, and historic insight, Alex paints a picture of a complex and diverse Jewish society in prewar Poland.
Looking back on his experiences, he refuses to find a "message" in the Holocaust. And, most remarkably, he frankly discusses his postwar guilt about his own behavior and the shame he felt for his people's humiliation by the Nazis, and reveals how, many years later, and despite his determination to leave it in the past, the burdens of memory - and the dreams - linger.
JOANNA WISZNIEWICZ is a writer and researcher at the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, Poland. Her main field of interest is the identity formation among children of Holocaust survivors raised in Poland. She is currently at work on a book on this subject and has also previously written another book entitled From Poland to Israel: Interviews with the 1968 Generation (KARTA Publishing House, 1992). REGINA GROL is a professor of comparative literature at Empire State College, State University of New York and a specialist in Polish literature. She is the translator and editor of Ambers Aglow: An Anthology of Contemporary Polish Women's Poetry 1985-1995 (Host, 1997). "ALEX" emigrated to the United States after World War II. He now lives on the East Coast where he works as a computer systems analyst.
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- ID: 9780810118133
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