Grandparents reveal their secrets: A new Holocaust narrative for the young 'third generation' in Israel

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Abstract

Since the 1990s, a new type of Holocaust story has been emerging in Israeli children's literature. This new narrative is directed towards very young children, from preschool to the first years of elementary school, and its official goal is to instil in them an authentic 'first Holocaust memory'. This essay presents the literary characteristics of this new Holocaust narrative for children and its master narrative. It brings into light a new profile of both writers and readers. The writers were young children during the Holocaust, and first chose to tell their stories from the safe distance of three generations. The readers are their grand-children and their grand-children's peers, who are assigned an essential role as listeners. These generational roles - the roles of a First Generation of writers and of a Third Generation of readers - are intrinsically familial ones. As such, they mark a significant change in the profile of yet another important figure in the Israeli intergenerational Holocaust discourse, the agent of the Holocaust story for children. Due to the new literary initiatives, the task of providing young children with a 'first Holocaust memory' is transferred from the educational authority, where it used to reside, to the domestic sphere.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-110
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Research in Children's Literature
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2012

Keywords

  • First Holocaust memory
  • First generation of Holocaust writers
  • Intergenerational Holocaust discourse
  • Israeli Holocaust children's literature
  • Third generation readership

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