'The Holocaust In John Kertesz's Fatelessness'

Decent Essays
Among the proposed Kertesz paper topics is an opportunity to explore one’s own (subjective) personal background and knowledge of The Holocaust in comparison to Kertesz’ novel, Fatelessness. I have spent many years studying religious, cultural and historical Judaism at the Jewish day schools I attended in the Metropolitan Detroit area. I learned in specific courses, first in 8th grade and later in 12th grade, about The Holocaust. To say Kertesz’ novel was unexpectedly upbeat and unusual would come as a surprise to no one in our class; we have repeatedly discussed and examined the novel’s unique approach. As opposed to harping on this well-established notion, I would much rather explore a subset of Georg’s Holocaust narrative in the novel that…show more content…
Despite the obvious connection to the novel’s title, I am most interested in the fact that Georg, a teenager living in a European country (now) controlled by an anti-Semitic government, is so actively unaware of Jewish history and the “unbroken persecution that has lasted a millennia” (pg. 20). Jewish people, on account of race and ethnicity, have been subject to violence and restrictions in European countries long before the Nazis came to power. For Georg to be so naïve and unaware, both of his own history and of the history of anti-Semitism at large, shows me, as a reader, how much Georg may be missing in his first hand accounts of his experiences. Georg seemingly does not understand the global implications of race and hatred and stains my ability to gain insight into his experiences; it is not surprising that Georg does not elaborate on his emotions or thoughts from Chapters 5-7, when he is working in the camps. To me, Fatelessness feels so different from other Holocaust literature (and is so special) because of the deficits in Georg’s common knowledge, which allows him the opportunity to examine his life as a string of unemotional experiences, and not as a singular great
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