Notes on Reznikoff's Holocaust

Charles Reznikoff, Holocaust, Black Sparrow, Softcover, 112 pages, 2007, $15.95

Edmund Hardy


We are reading a thing created from historical material in which the editing has produced a new content which is itself a framework.

What is there which joins or breaks between the witness of survivors and the untestifiable silence of the murdered?

The Jews in the ghetto were swollen with hunger
or terribly thin;
six to eight in a room
and no heating.
Families died during the night
and when neighbors entered in the morning –
perhaps days afterwards –
they saw them frozen to death
or dead from starvation. (p. 12)

"No one can bear witness from the inside of death", as Giorgio Agamben puts it in his Remnants of Auschwitz.

What has been created is a rhetorical structure in which different testimonies can speak out beyond the legitimating or discrediting binary of judgement's court.

To escape is to attempt to seed yourself, and a boat is already a seed on the mirror of the water:

Fishing boats, excursion boats, and any kind of boat
were mustered at the ports;
and the Jews were escorted to the coast by the Danes –
many of them students –
and ferried to safety in Sweden:
about six thousand Danish Jews were rescued
and only a few hundred captured by the Germans. (p. 88)

I like this, Edmund. Is there a new edition of Holocaust?
Yes, this year - I've added the link and details.
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