Cover image for Encyclopedia of Holocaust literature
Encyclopedia of Holocaust literature
Patterson, David, 1948-
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. ; London : Oryx Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
xviii, 263 pages ; 27 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN56.H55 E53 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



Whether it's a novel, memoir, diary, poem, or drama, a common thread runs through the literature of the Nazi Holocaust--a motif of personal testimony to the dearness of humanity. With that perspective the expert authors of Encyclopedia of Holocaust Literature undertake profiling 128 of the most influential first generation authors who either survived, perished, or were closely connected to the Holocaust. Arranged alphabetically by author, all of the entries answer the same basic questions about the author and his or her work: What is the nature of the author's literary response to the Holocaust? What is his or her place in Holocaust literature? What does the author's work contribute to an understanding of the Holocaust? What is distinctive about the author's work? What are some key moments in the author's life? What issues does the author's work pose for the reader? To address these questions, the entries are generally organized into three primary divisions: (1) an opening section on why the author's work has a significant or distinctive place in Holocaust literature, (2) a second section containing information on the author's biography, and (3) a critical examination of the highlights of the author's work. In most cases, the third section is the longest, since the focus of the encyclopedia is the literature, not the author.

The Encyclopedia is intended for all students and teachers of the Holocaust, regardless of their levels of learning. Avenues for further research are incorporated at the conclusion of each entry and in a comprehensive bibliography of primary works of Holocaust literature and a second bibliography of critical studies of Holocaust literature.

Author Notes

DAVID PATTERSON holds the Bornblum Chair in Judaic Studies at the University of Memphis and is a winner of the Koret Jewish Book Award. He is the author of more than 90 articles and book chapters.

ALAN L. BERGER occupies the Raddock Eminent Scholar Chair for Holocaust Studies and is Director of Holocaust and Judaic Studies at Florida Atlantic University. With more than 80 articles and books chapters, Professor Berger has lectured on the Holocaust and Jewish literature and theology throughout America and in Europe, Australia, South Africa, and Israel. He is also editor of the Religion, Theology, and the Holocaust series for Syracuse University Press and an associate editor of Studies in American Jewish Literature and serves on the editorial boards of Literature and Belief and Jewish Affairs .

SARITA CARGAS is an independent scholar. She earned her B.A. at St. John's College, Annapolis, in 1990. She also holds an M.A. in Psychology from Georgetown University (1997) and an M.A. in Theology from the Aquinas Institute of Theology (1998). She is currently studying for an M.A. in Religion at Oxford University.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

This important and sensitive work presents a detailed look at the writings and lives of authors who survived, perished in, or were closely connected to the Holocaust (1933-1945). It gives fresh voice to the Holocaust Studies subject area, which has seen many new publications in the last few years and thus needs a strong survey text that helps put these writings into historical and literary context. About 130 authors are covered in this work. All are first generation and wrote personal testimonies in the form of novels, memoirs, diaries, or plays in response to the Holocaust. Most, but not all, of the writers are Jewish. The writers did not all live in Europe during the Holocaust, but all were deeply influenced by its legacy. Readers familiar with this genre will recognize important names that have subject entries: Aharon Appelfeld, Anne Frank, Viktor Frankl, Primo Levi, Elie Wiesel. Many others are given prominent treatment, including Adam Czerniakow, Anatoli Kuznetsov, and Isaiah Spiegel. People from all the European countries are included, although there is an understandable emphasis on those who wrote in English. Each entry answers several basic questions: the writer's literary response to the Holocaust, how that response is unique or distinctive, and how the author's work contributes to an overall understanding of the Holocaust. Each entry also contains detailed biographical data that helps put the writings into context, such as when and where the writer was in a death camp or at what age he or she became a refugee. The contributors provide powerful documentation and original research in presenting their subjects' literary messages and biographies. In addition to the bibliographies of primary and secondary works attached to the entries, the volume's "Bibliography of Primary Works of Holocaust Literature" is very comprehensive and will be a great aid to those doing primary research. Helpful appendixes include authors by date of birth, authors by country of birth, and birth names for authors writing under pen names. The volume's arrangement and detailed, analytic treatment make it unique. Holocaust Literature: A Handbook of Critical, Historical, and Literary Writings, edited by Saul Friedman (Greenwood, 1993), has a subject approach, and some may want to consult that volume for a different access point to the topic. The authoritative Bibliography of Holocaust Literature (Westview, 1986) and its supplement classify more than 10,000 works of all types. The Oryx volume will be a strong addition to public and academic libraries, especially the many with Holocaust classes at the graduate or undergraduate level. Many librarians will be able to use the extensive bibliography as a collection development tool. Bearing Witness: A Resource Guide to Literature, Poetry, Art, Music, and Videos by Holocaust Victims and Survivors [RBB Ap 15 02] covers some of the same writers and is a good choice for public and school libraries.

Library Journal Review

This useful new reference profiles the lives and works of influential authors associated with the Holocaust, whether as victim, as survivor, or in some other close capacity. Edited by Patterson (Judaic studies, Univ. of Memphis), Alan L. Berger (director of Holocaust and Judaic studies, Florida Atlantic Univ.), and Sarita Cargas (who has masters degrees in both theology and psychology), this work includes all the major writers among its 128 authors. Each signed entry contains three informal parts: an introductory section that considers the author's particular significance within Holocaust literature, a brief biographical section, and a longer critical examination of the author's most influential work. The entries are adequate in length and are followed by thumbnail bibliographies of works both by and about the author. The appendixes list the profiled authors chronologically, geographically, and by birth names if pseudonymous. The two wonderful bibliographies include the "Bibliography of Critical Studies of Holocaust Literature," which will help students at many levels, and the comprehensive "Bibliography of Primary Works of Holocaust Literature," which points to a legion of authors not covered in the encyclopedia. This suggests the work's one drawback: it is hard to glean the rationale for inclusion and exclusion. The editors state that the literature of second-generation writers is significantly different and therefore excluded, but the selection of those who did not survive the Holocaust seems somewhat random. Nevertheless, this is the first significant encyclopedia in the field and is suitable for academic, public, and school libraries. Academic libraries may want to wait to take a look at S. Lillian Kremer's Holocaust Literature: An Encyclopedia of Writers and Their Work, a two-volume reference that promises over 300 author entries, due out from Routledge in December. Paul D'Alessandro, Portland P.L., ME (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

The editors provide an engrossing look at 128 authors of Holocaust literature and their works--poems and plays to diaries and memoirs. The authors have intimate knowledge of the Nazi Holocaust: some of them perished in the camps, some survived, some lost family members. Vignettes of the authors and their work reveal the profound effect the Holocaust had on their lives and literary work. The alphabetical entries combine biographical information (especially as it pertains to their experience of the Holocaust) and in-depth analysis of their literary works. Entries list a selection of works by the author, sometimes citing further biographical readings about the author. Two bibliographies add additional weight: "Bibliography of Critical Studies of Holocaust Literature" cites supplementary sources, and "Bibliography of Primary Holocaust Literature" provides a primer of sources for novices and scholars. An excellent source for those interested in literature about the Holocaust; essential for academic libraries. K. Evans Indiana State University

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Introductionp. xiii
Encyclopedia of Holocaust Literaturep. 1
Appendix 1 Authors by Date of Birthp. 225
Appendix 2 Authors by Country of Birthp. 227
Appendix 3 Authors by Birth Namep. 229
Bibliography of Primary Works of Holocaust Literaturep. 231
Bibliography of Critical Studies of Holocaust Literaturep. 247
Indexp. 253
Contributorsp. 261