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Fri, 07 Sep 2012 11:51:53 EDT by admin, 113208 views
Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel
Language and Literature paper by Rosen, Ilana (all papers)
Family Documentary Lore - Reading a 1970s-1980s Correspondence between Jerusalem and Nagyvárad
Documentary literature is a mega-genre including diary, memoir, jubilee/regional book, minutes, and correspondence. This literature does not aim at artistry and its writers are far from acclaimed authors. Rather, they come from all social strata and wish to pass on their experiences and knowledge as people who lived through meaningful events and as part of their community/nation. In the Jewish-Israeli context, this motivation is amplified by the magnanimous events that befell the Jewish people in the last century and a half. My presentation offers a reading in the letters of my parents, Israeli immigrants from Erdély/Transylvania, to their sisters (each had one) in Nagyvárad/Oradea in Romania of the late 1970s and early 1980s (my paternal aunt later returned me the letters). The letters depict my parents' lives as eternal immigrants raising Israeli-born (sabra) children, and their longing for their past families and for the Várad/Erdély that once was. The very last of them bluntly tell their anguish about their deteriorating health. In my reading of the letters I wish to illustrate their nature and traits as documentary materials and their contribution to understanding Hungarian-Jewish immigrants, mostly Holocaust survivors, living in Israel of the 1950s-1970s. I shall also deal with the ways in which my reading re-writes the letters through a combination of literary-cultural research and personal memorial journey.
Brief Professional Bio:
Ilana Rosen is Associate Professor of Hebrew Literature at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev at Beer Sheva, Israel. She studies documentary literature of Jews of Central-Eastern Europe, with stress on their Holocaust memory and narrative, as well as the multi-ethnic narrative of emigrants to south of Israel. Her publications include: Sister in Sorrow – Life Histories of Female Holocaust Survivors from Hungary (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2008), winner of the 2009 American Folklore Society (AFS) Elli Köngäs-Maranda prize for women's studies; Soul of Saul – the Life, Narrative, and Proverbs of a Transylvanian-Israeli Grandfather (Burlington: Vermont University, 2011).