Wresting Memory as We Wrestle with Holocaust Representation: Reading László Nemes’s Son of Saul

  • Gila Safran Naveh


This chapter argues that Holocaust overused clichés point to Hollywood’s overwhelming failure to offer accurate, authentic representations of the Shoah. Using examples from acclaimed Holocaust films, this chapter poses that the signifier “Holocaust” (or “Shoah”) does not designate “survival,” “life,” or “life affirming actions” when projected onto other signifying systems that carry meaning and come into play in Holocaust films. Rather, it signifies “death,” “dying,” and “killing” in their most extreme and violent forms that threaten acts of memorializing and remembrance. The examples included indicate that authentic representations of the Holocaust in film and in story offer unique insights into psychic fragmentation in the acutely traumatized individual and offer us new insights into the transformative/healing function of art and the revitalizing of memory.


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gila Safran Naveh
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA

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