The collapse of time
DOI link for The collapse of time
The collapse of time book
In this chapter, I highlight the key themes woven throughout select Holocaust short stories. All of the short stories that I have chosen lead the reader into a never-ending inferno whose doors all open to the death chamber. In each of these stories, the writers display an enormous creativity in the objects and situations they have chosen to come closer to a narrative expression of the unending horror that probably cannot fully be expressed through the power of words. Through my analysis of Holocaust short stories, I aim to highlight how these works written in the short story form capture the moment of tension, crisis, utter silence, and the tearing apart of relationships (fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, neighbors, and lovers). Through this genre’s form, authors of these stories give the readers a glimpse into a world where death is celebrated, commanded, and carried out; or, perhaps better, these authors tear an opening into the fabric of an “anti-world,” in which even death is not death. They center on a moment when the world of the story collapses under the assaults by man, rather than flourishes by the uniting of humanity, so that time itself comes undone. Lastly, they tend to engage in a narrative testimony of the characters’ deaths, rather than their lives, which in turn, may implicate the reader to remember the people and places from which these stories arise. The image for the anti-man of the “anti-world” gains presence through the character of the Muselmann, who has lost all human energy and collapses on the ground in an utterly physically exhausted state reminiscent of a person bowing over praying. I demonstrate this aspect of the Holocaust short story through an examination of the works of authors such as: Ida Fink, Tadeusz Borowski, Rokhl Korn, Frume Halpern, and Cynthia Ozick.