Memory of the Minsk Ghetto: The Interaction of Genre and Generations after the Holocaust

Sanford, Tierre, Slavic Languages and Literatures - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Tolczyk, Dariusz, AS-Slavic Languages & Lit, University of Virginia

This dissertation examines the evolution of transmitted memory in relation to the Minsk ghetto, highlighting first-, second-, and third-generation narratives of the ghetto experience, as well as their evolution in genre from memoir to postmemoir to fiction, respectively. Chapter 1 features four memoirs written by survivors of the Minsk ghetto, namely: Hersh Smolar, Anna Krasnoperko, Abram Rubenchik, and Mikhail Treister. It summarizes the main events included in memoirs on the Minsk ghetto, while providing literary analysis of the emotions and sensations that the memoirists convey in their accounts. The second chapter delves into a postmemoir, a second-generation narrative of the Minsk ghetto, written by Svetlana Gebeleva. The second-generation postmemoir, while closer to the original genre of memoir, shifts its focus to physical commemoration and community. The final account is discussed in Chapter 3, which examines the role of a third-generation fictionalized memoir and its use of literary devices such as characterization and soundscape. Over the generations, genre choices begin to drift further and further from the survivors' memoirs; however, with the introduction of fiction, the third-generation is able to return the emphasis that the memoirists themselves placed on emotion and sensation.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Minsk Ghetto, Holocaust, Memoir, Memory, Generations, Genre, Postmemory, Soundscape
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