H. G. Adler’s Novel of Life after Auschwitz

Dec. 12 2014

H. G. Adler is best known (to the extent that he is known at all) for his sociological studies of the Holocaust. But he also wrote a series of novels based on his own experiences at Theresienstadt and Auschwitz, and his life after the war. The last of these, The Wall, recently made available in English, deals with the burdens of survival. Adam Kirsch writes:

Of all the different genres of Holocaust literature, the survivor’s story is perhaps the most challenging. It is the story of an aftermath, of a life lived in the shadow of events that are so terrible they can never achieve the banality of “closure.” And it is precisely this unresolved quality, this sense that a survivor’s life has broken away from all recognized narrative patterns, that gives The Wall its uneasy power. Its protagonist, Arthur Landau, is given to saying that he does not exist, and the whole book is like a document of what it feels like to live without existing: “I realize I don’t belong to human society. . . . I am not part of any continuum that allows those who are self-evident—so they maintain, at least—to discover something in common or at least assume it.”

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More about: Auschwitz, Holocaust fiction, Holocaust survivors, Jewish literature, Theresienstadt

Terror Returns to Israel

Nov. 28 2022

On Wednesday, a double bombing in Jerusalem left two dead, and many others injured—an attack the likes of which has not been seen since 2016. In a Jenin hospital, meanwhile, armed Palestinians removed an Israeli who had been injured in a car accident, reportedly murdering him in the process, and held his body hostage for two days. All this comes as a year that has seen numerous stabbings, shootings, and other terrorist attacks is drawing to a close. Yaakov Lappin comments:

Unlike the individual or small groups of terrorists who, acting on radical ideology and incitement to violence, picked up a gun, a knife, or embarked on a car-ramming attack, this time a better organized terrorist cell detonated two bombs—apparently by remote control—at bus stops in the capital. Police and the Shin Bet have exhausted their immediate physical searches, and the hunt for the perpetrators will now move to the intelligence front.

It is too soon to know who, or which organization, conducted the attack, but it is possible to note that in recent years, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) has taken a lead in remote-control-bombing terrorism. Last week, a car bomb that likely contained explosives detonated by remote control was discovered by the Israel Defense Forces in Samaria, after it caught fire prematurely. In August 2019, a PFLP cell detonated a remote-control bomb in Dolev, seventeen miles northwest of Jerusalem, killing a seventeen-year-old Israeli girl and seriously wounding her father and brother. Members of that terror cell were later arrested.

With the Palestinian Authority (PA) losing its grip in parts of Samaria to armed terror gangs, and the image of the PA at an all-time low among Palestinians, in no small part due to corruption, nepotism, and its violation of human rights . . . the current situation does not look promising.

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More about: Israeli Security, Jerusalem, Palestinian terror