DOI link for Introduction
This Introduction examines the general features of the short story genre, the unique features of the Holocaust short story, and the reason why one cannot approach reading a short story about the Holocaust the same way one would approach reading a novel, poem, or memoir about the Holocaust. I establish how Holocaust short stories attempt to say what cannot be said, but that their very form reflects the fragmented, broken life of the characters, as these stories capture the moment when death and hate engulfed reality. Therefore, unlike the longer structures of novels, or varied structures of poems or essays, the short story form uniquely lends itself to inserting the reader immediately into a narrative in a different way, which focuses on a particular moment – one revealing aspects of the “anti-world” of its character(s) through concise, yet fully developed narrative structures. I emphasize how many scholars have approached Holocaust literary texts and genres through different lenses; nevertheless, one genre missing from their close examination is the short story. Scholars of Holocaust literature have not situated their criticism of Holocaust short stories in relation to the stories’ genre, but rather have situated it in relation to the stories’ narrative prose or characterization. Consequently, I note that for one to approach analyzing Holocaust short stories without acknowledging the genre and structure of these stories somewhat teeters on the edge of diminishing the authors’ chosen art form and misconstruing the meaning and purpose of these narratives.