Ilse Josepha Lazaroms
This project charts the intellectual representations of destruction in Central Europe. It aims to rescue the literary and political visions and realities that emerged from the remnants of the destroyed European life-worlds after the Holocaust. Narratives of survival and loss are placed side by side with more optimistic accounts of the future of the reimagined and restored European landscapes of war. It nuances debates about early Holocaust documentation and the role of literature in these processes, and argues that the Holocaust experience, seen in a larger timeframe, should be placed in the context of European responses to catastrophe, the immediate postwar years in Europe, and debates about what it means to give shape to the past. Despite our vast knowledge about the Holocaust, we know preciously little about the immediate postwar period, when the future of Europe lay in the scale and the bitter division between East and West, despite certain early stirrings, was yet to be cemented.