Summary Of The Story Of A Lost Childhood By Nechama Tec

Decent Essays

Informal Reading Response #1 Nechama Tec’s autobiography Dry Tears: The Story of a Lost Childhood tells the narrative of her experiences as a young Jewish girl in Nazi occupied Poland during the second World War. Nechama was able to survive, and protect her family, through the Holocaust by hiding her true identity and pretending to be Polish. She was able to do this because of her blond hair, light skin, blue eyes, and ability to speak unaccented Polish, which made her physically indistinguishable from an “Aryan” child. Nechama Tec’s story emphasizes the themes of identity, cultural assimilation, and passing, both socially and physically, as something that you are not, while also attempting to convey the entirely contradictory, hypocritical, …show more content…

In light of the reading and lectures, this is quite a difficult question to answer. The truth is that Jews are not very different from any other people. They are not evil, they are not monsters, and they are certainly not more deserving of abuse or ostracization than any other group. In the case of Nechama Tec, it is impossible to conjure up any particular thing that made her different from the Poles. Her physical features appeared European, she did not demonstrate traditionally Jewish mannerisms, and her parents were not particularly religious. She was told several times, in fact, that she was not a real Jew. First, by a Polish woman named Genia, who would frequently proclaim that Nechama was “… such a lovely child, not Jewish at all, not at all” (Tec, 51), and then again by the Homars, who would say things like “You know that you are not a real Jew. You are not really Jewish.” (Tec, 121) These dialogues show just how nonsensical anti-Semitism was at the time. Clearly, most anti-Semites did not even understand what a real Jew was. Nechama Tec thoughtfully expressed these ideas later in the story, when she wrote the following about the Homars:
In a way they were right. We were not ‘typically Jewish,’ we did not conform to the image that phrase evoked for them. It did not matter that they had perhaps never encountered anyone who did conform to the image. That was irrelevant. They simply treated us as an exception, which allowed them to keep their anti-Semitism intact. (Tec,

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