Even as the movie Schindler's List attracted crowds and awards, it sparked a serious public debate: how could a Hollywood director, someone so far from the Holocaust, capture it on film? Indeed, could anyone capture this staggeringly apocalyptic experience in art? In Art from the Ashes, Lawrence L. Langer shows how, over the last fifty years, artists and writers have tried to come to grips with this monumental horror.
Art from the Ashes provides the most far-reaching collection of art, drama, poetry, and prose about the Holocaust ever presented in a single volume. Through the works of men and women, Jews and non-Jews, figures famous and unknown, those who were there and those separated from the ordeal by time and space, this anthology offers a vision of the human reality of the catastrophe. Essays by familiar writers like Primo Levi and Elie Wiesel accompany lesser-known efforts by Yankiel Wiernik and Frantisek Kraus; stories by Tadeusz Borowski and Ida Fink join fiction by neglected authors such as Isaiah Spiegel and Adolf Rudnicki; and extensive selections appear from the work of six poetsthe renowned Paul Celan, Nelly Sachs, and Abraham Sutzkever along with the less celebrated Dan Pagis, Jacob Glatstein, and Miklos Radnoti. Each selection (except for self-contained excerpts from ghetto journals and diaries) appears here in its complete form. Langer also includes in their entirety a novel by Aharon Appelfeld, a novella by Pierre Gascar, and Joshua Sobol's controversial drama Ghetto. In addition, this volume features a visual essay in the form of reproductions of twenty works of art created in the Terezin concentration campwhich, as Langer notes, "further enrich and complicate our confrontation with the physical, moral, psychological, and emotional disruptions with which the Holocaust challenges us."
The stunning immensity of the Holocaust looms over the twentieth century, overshadowing all our efforts to make sense of it. Art from the Ashes begins to pry open its mysteries, with outstanding selections collected by one of our finest commentators on the era.