After Such Knowledge
As the Holocaust recedes from us in time, the guardianship of its legacy is being passed on from its survivors and witnesses to the generation after. How should we, in turn, convey its knowledge to others? What are the effects of a traumatic past on its inheritors, and the second generation's responsibilities to its received memories? In this meditation on the long aftermath of atrocity, Eva Hoffman probes these questions through personal reflections and through broader explorations of the historical, psychological and moral implications of the second-generation experience. She examines the subterranean processes through which private memories of suffering are transmitted, and the more wilful stratagems of collective memory. She traces the second-generation's trajectory from childhood intimations of horror, through its struggles between allegiance and autonomy, and its complex transactions with children of perpetrators. As she guides us through the poignant juncture at which living memory must be relinquished, she asks what insights can be carried from the past to the newly problematic present, and urges the need to transform potent family stories into a fully-informed understanding.
"Eloquent book, which struggles heroically to show that reason and scholarship still have value in the face of genocide and mass suffering" (Times)
"Graceful and honorific" (Observer)
"Hoffman draws upon disparate disciplines and forms of literature to probe the issues that haunt her generation" (Frances Spalding Independent)
"She is a sensitive but unsentimental writer, scrupulously fair-minded, keenly aware of the conflicts and dilemmas involved" (Sunday Telegraph)