Landscapes of the Metropolis of Death: Reflections on Memory and Imagination

Otto Dov Kulka, trans. from the Hebrew by Ralph Mandel. Harvard/Belknap, $23.95 (144p) ISBN 978-0-674-07289-3
Personal accounts of the Holocaust face the difficult task of bringing fresh perspective to one of the most well-documented events in modern history. Jewish History professor Kulka delivers his own tale with a refreshing mix of immediacy, imagery, and adroit historicism, a combination which masterfully depicts the mental gymnastics he's gone through to understand this seminal time in his past. Kulka draws from his own journal entries and audio monologues in describing his time at family camps inside Theresienstadt and Auschwitz, places he considers part of the Metropolis of Death. Having spent his professional career on Naziism and Holocaust studies, Kulka wrestles with the elusive nature of perception and recollection, questioning why his memories vary so drastically from others who experienced this landscape firsthand. These reflections, while a testament to the strength of the human spirit, seem intended for the author alone—an intellectual record of his journey toward personal reconciliation. Despite surviving, he is still trapped in the past, held there by the "immutable law[s]" of beauty and death. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/25/2013
Release date: 03/01/2013
Open Ebook - 140 pages - 978-0-674-07509-2
Hardcover - 144 pages - 978-1-84614-683-1
Ebook - 126 pages - 978-0-7181-9701-8
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