Battle against time to publish Holocaust memoirs
By Haggai Hitron

Like the brief resurgence of a campfire before it dies into embers, the past few years have seen a rise in the number of Holocaust memoirs being published. Time rushes on, and the desire to recreate, to witness, to struggle against one’s failing memory becomes an urgent command.

Most of these testimonies are amazing, even when the authors are not professional writers. It is difficult to remain indifferent in the face of “Yeled, Hetzel et Atzmakha” [“Child, Save Yourself”] by Yisrael Brestitzky ?(Ministry of Defense Publication, 2004?). Like many of these memoirs, it does not dwell on the horrors of the death camps. In Brestitzky’s book, for example, the climax of the plot occurs after the Holocaust has ended, in 1945. The plot then takes a terrible twist: The exemplary officer in the victorious Red Army goes over from the light side of liberation and freedom to the dark side of Soviet despotism after a Jewish colleague turns him in.