Perpetrator, Collaborator, Liberator: What Do We Tell the Kids?
AbstractThe children's literatures of Germany, France, and the United States differ fundamentally in how they portray the indescribable, explain the incomprehensible, and evoke the unimaginable in their representation of the Holocaust for their children. In framing the comparisons of this study, Germany may be considered a perpetrator because it was the Nazi state that executed the Holocaust and the accompanying horrors, attempting to achieve the perfect Aryan society. France may be considered a collaborator because after the surrender, elements of society either assisted, or at least tolerated, the Nazi programs. The United States may be considered a liberator because when America finally became involved in the war, it enabled the final campaigns that ended the conflict and brought the horrors of the camps to the world’s attention. Certainly other nations and communities could be defined in each of those roles as well. This study is constructed as a comparison of whether those roles might have an impact on the representation of the Holocaust in the children’s literature of these communities.
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