The Return of the Past: The Intergenerational Transmission of Holocaust Memory in Israeli Fiction Academic Article uri icon


  • Recent Israeli fiction has included an incredibly large number of works which reflect the intergenerational transmission of the trauma of the Holocaust. Some of the authors are well-known or newer talents, but not all are themselves children of survivors, for example David Grossman, author of See Under: Love , the most successful account so far of growing up in Israel under the shadow of the Holocaust and the repercussions for a young writer. This essay examines the reasons for the apparent turn-about in Israeli discourse on the Holocaust and discusses ways in which these changes are inscribed in contemporary novels and short stories. The emergence of a "second generation" of survivors in the mid-1980s is a phenomenon not unconnected with transformations of Israeli society, the peace process, and rethinking of the past. In particular, the issues raised by these writers confront the tensions between personal and collective identity, between memory and history, which underlie the turmoil of public debate in contemporary Israel.

publication date

  • January 1, 2001