Intergenerational Memories

Hidden Children and Second Generation
  • Ellen S. Fine


In her book Unclaimed Experience, Cathy Caruth speaks of trauma and shows how the original trauma is re-enacted again and again in the psyche of the survivor. She calls this a double wound, ‘the story of a wound that cries out,’ ‘the narrative of a belated experience… [that] attests to its endless impact on a life.’ The Holocaust is one such event. More than fifty years after, closure is not possible. The event continues to stir unrest in those who live in its aftermath. Trauma is reflected in the testimonies of the generation that was ‘there’ and in the responses of the generations that were not. It has become clear that there is not one memory of the event but multiple memories. Survivors persist in writing memoirs to bear witness to their encounter with death. Narratives of the unhealed wound manifest themselves in the discourse of hidden children who are now revealing what was for a long time a secret memory. Children of survivors are trying to come to terms with the wounds they have inherited, as they fill in the gaps of their ‘absent memory’ with other people’s memories and through their imagination, composing works born of belated trauma.


Mass Grave Hiding Place Holocaust Survivor Greek Island Belated Experience 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ellen S. Fine

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