Förintelsen i litteraturen

  • Karl-Johan Illman Åbo akademi
Keywords: Jewish literature, Memorial books (Holocaust), Fiction, Jewish authors, Diaries, Symbolism in literature, Symbolism, Jewish


This paper is an introduction to and commentary on what is often referred to as the holocaust literature. The author favors terms such as shoah or churban, which mean ‘catastrophe’, ‘destruction’ over the more widespread term holocaust. The latter is a sacrificial term from the Bible meaning “burn offering”. This has misleading connotations: the destruction of European Jews cannot be considered a sacrifice in any ordinary sense. The paper discusses the various genres of holocaust literature and their relation to history. The author arrives at the conclusion that fictional literature need not necessarily have a weaker relation nor give a more faulty representation of what happened than documentary literature, such as diaries and memoirs. Finally, various criticisms of holocaust literature and the preoccupation with it are discussed. The author finds no grounds for avoiding the study of this literature, to the contrary he argues that it is in fact necessary for later generations to know about and reflect on this dark chapter in human history. It is only deemed harmful if it then occupies the entire curriculum of Jewish studies at an academic institution.
Sep 1, 1992
How to Cite
Illman, K.-J. (1992). Förintelsen i litteraturen. Nordisk Judaistik/Scandinavian Jewish Studies, 13(2), 127-141. https://doi.org/10.30752/nj.69477