Thursday, April 26, 2012

Not Just Anne Frank

Alexandra Zapruder has provided an important resource for understanding the Holocaust in her book,  Salvaged Pages.  By collecting the diaries of children and teenagers, she gives us the tools to learn not only about what that period was like for young people but also to get a sense of how the constrictions, deprivations, and struggle for survival felt in different places.  As she notes in our interview, Anne Frank's story tells just one version, and for many people, that together, perhaps, with some film images of life in labor and death camps, has become the story.  But that challenge of the Holocaust is not just its scale or even its horror but the difficulty of keeping this iconic historical event meaningful.  Almost 70 years after World War II ended, we have gotten into the habit of talking about how terrible the Holocaust was and reciting the mantra about not forgetting and never again (though,of course, sadly, genocide keeps on happening).  But it seems to me that we need fresh perspectives in order to keep learning and stay interested.  Otherwise, remembering becomes rote, and that makes it meaningless.

My interview with Zapruder is my last for Lincoln Avenue, at least for now.  Thanks for listening for the past few years.    And a special thanks to all those who have commented on the show and the blog.  Doing this program has been a real treat for me; discovering that people are actually listening makes it even better.

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