Our Holocaust by Amir Gutfreund
Jessica Cohen, translator
Beautifully translated from Hebrew, Our Holocaust is a novel narrated by a nameless child of Holocaust survivors. A prizewinner in Israel, it tells the story of relatives who are “collected” by virtue of the fact that they themselves have no one to call their own family since many of their parents, children, brothers and siblings were murdered during the Holocaust. The relatives operated under the “Law of Compression,” wherein fellow neighbors were turned into uncles, cousins and even grandparents. The colorful characters range from the eccentric, inwardly fearful Grandpa Lolek to Uncle Mendel and the cantankerous but loving Feiga. Although these Holocaust survivors make an effort to conduct sane lives, the horrors they experienced continue to haunt them, from panic and fear over a knock at the door, to inner demons plaguing the minds and souls of those who experienced the brutalities of the Nazis. Soon, the narrator also takes on the fears of his relatives, and begins to question those who walk down the street, or frequent his home, wondering if they were themselves Nazis, loyal soldiers or even worse, murderers themselves.