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Admitting the Holocaust

Admitting the Holocaust by Lawrence L. Langer is a collection of essays

about the Holocaust and how it is perceived in literature by our culture.

Langer explores oral testimonies, diaries and fiction that consider the

devastation of the Holocaust a central theme.He takes a look at human

values in the light of that devastation.He exhibits the concern between

literature and testimony.His hope is that the Holocaust experience will not

be sentimentalized in the various forms of literature and media. Langer wants

the Holocaust to be presented as"it really was — evil."

Throughout his book Langer makes reference to various other writers

novels and articles about the death camps.He criticizes such authors as

William Styron and Bernard Malamud.According to Langer("Beyond

Theodicy:Jewish Victims and the Holocaust"and"Malamud's Jews and

the Holocaust Experience,"),"too many historical and cultural

representations of the Nazis' murderers try, by portraying the Jewish victims

as dignified martyrs, to introduce the notion of spiritual redemption into the

accounts of atrocities that need to be confronted without moral

oversimplification."He rejects the works of Malamud who found in

suffering"a source or spiritual strength, a moral advantage."In the essays

"ATainted Legacy:Remembering the Warsaw Ghetto"and"Ghetto

Chronicles:Life at the Brink"Langer criticizes accounts that present

heroism, suffering and religious experience as a central theme.He writes:

"Jews were destroyed by humans,not God … in a historical, not religious,

moment of suffering … whether they chose or not,men died for nothing."

He finds it unimaginable that any sane person could write,"It is a great

privilege to have been chosen to bea…

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