Of Memory, History—and Eggplants

Where Memory Leads: My Life

by Saul Friedländer

Other Press, 304 pp., $24.95

Saul Friedländer’s poignant, elegantly written memoir When Memory Comes was published originally in French in 1978 (and in English in 1979). There, in fragmented form and with almost unbearable restraint, written, as Leon Wieseltier put it, in a language that seems “armored against the dissolution it describes,” Friedländer recounted his tale of survival under the Nazis and its lasting effects on his dismembered life. Holocaust memoirs were gaining wider popular attention just then, but the elegance and intellectual probity of Friedländer’s writing endowed it with an especially polished, alluring, and painful quality. Moreover, here was a widely read memoir that differed from other famous works by luminaries such as Elie Wiesel, Primo Levi, and Jean Améry. For one thing, unlike those men who lived through the camps, Friedländer survived the Holocaust far away from Eastern Europe, hidden as a child in a French Catholic boarding school. This experiential difference itself became an object of his stylish retrospection, part of an ongoing split of being, that he described thus: 

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About the Author

Steven E. Aschheim is emeritus professor of history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His most recent book is At the Edges of Liberalism: Junctions of European, German, and Jewish History (Palgrave Macmillan). He is the co-editor, with Vivian Liska, of The German-Jewish Experience Revisited (Walter de Gruyter).


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