By Phyllis Lassner (auth.)
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Additional info for Anglo-Jewish Women Writing the Holocaust: Displaced Witnesses
3 There is also a problem in reverse. To read these memoirs as documentary testimony may avoid the pitfalls of personal relatedness, but the memoirs are not written as historical discourse. Instead, as we shall see, what women writers document are their negotiations with extant genres, forms, and readers’ expectations that for them and for readers present a canonical rhetoric of Holocaust representation. If, for example, the Kinder experienced their adaptation favorably, they might easily feel their stories don’t meet readers’ expectations of Holocaust deprivation and suffering.
Lesser Child 195) The emphasis here on ‘home’ forms a mnemonic pattern that accords with other women’s Kindertransport memoirs to show the domesticated, family oriented nature of their lessons and doubts about belonging. For example, from a retrospective point of view, these writers will often project onto the past what they learned about the duplicity of neighbors who did not hesitate to betray the children’s families. While such lessons unsettle more nostalgic memories, they can as well be juxtaposed with hopes for the future.
Parents believed they were protecting their children from the anguish of their frantic and frustrated efforts to be added to quota lists and to acquire transport visas, but fear broke through their silences. The trepidations that had been seeping through unanswered questions and whispers were ironically only aggravated by the announcement in 1938 of the Kindertransport. In a week or even the next day, the children would need to be ready to board trains to take them to England. Because only the barest facts about the rescue were available, the reassurances parents could provide confirmed the children’s worst fears about their collective fate.