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Holocaust Mothers and Daughters
Family, History, and Trauma
Federica K. Clementi; Shulamit Reinharz, fwd.

Tauber Institute Series for the Study of European Jewry
HBI Series on Jewish Women
Brandeis University Press
2013 • 392 pp. 6 1/8 x 9 1/4"
Holocaust Studies / Women's Studies

$40.00 Paperback, 978-1-61168-476-6
$85.00 Hardcover, 978-1-61168-475-9

$39.99 Ebook, 978-1-61168-477-3

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

(Cloth edition is un-jacketed.
Cover illustration is for paperback edition only)

“Do daughters feel differently about their mothers in situations of extremity, such as war or genocide? In this illuminating study of six autobiographical works by Jewish Holocaust victims or survivors, Federica Clementi shows that their mother-daughter relationships follow some of the same complex, ambivalent, contradictory, and ultimately devastating trajectories that characterize those in ordinary times. Yet in giving space and close attention to the intimate stories of women, Holocaust Mothers and Daughters discovers unexpected aspects of creativity and survival in times of catastrophe.” —Marianne Hirsch, Columbia University

An astonishing analysis of Jewish mother-daughter relations before, during, and after the Shoah as described in daughters’ memoirs

In this brave and original work, Federica Clementi focuses on the mother-daughter bond as depicted in six works by women who experienced the Holocaust, sometimes with their mothers, sometimes not. The daughters’ memoirs, which record the “all-too-human” qualities of those who were persecuted and murdered by the Nazis, show that the Holocaust cannot be used to neatly segregate lives into the categories of before and after. Clementi’s discussions of differences in social status, along with the persistence of antisemitism and patriarchal structures, support this point strongly, demonstrating the tenacity of trauma—individual, familial, and collective—among Jews in twentieth-century Europe.

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“After reading [this book], it is impossible to think about Jewish Holocaust experiences without paying attention to gender, family ties, the centrality of mothers, and the distinct dynamics of mother-daughter bonds that shaped these writers’ existences—and presumably those of other women—during the war and thereafter.”—Alexandra Garbarini, Williams College

FEDERICA K. CLEMENTI is associate professor of English at the University of South Carolina.

Wed, 5 Nov 2014 15:54:51 -0500