This article analyzes the representation of Holocaust memory and its influences on present-day reality in Israel in three graphic novels: Ari Folman and David Polonsky’s 2009 Waltz with Bashir, Michel Kichka’s 2013 The Second Generation: Things I Did Not Tell My Father, and Rutu Modan’s 2013 The Property. It shows that, through the employment of private snapshots alongside references to famous photographic images, these texts invoke the duality at the heart of Holocaust memory in Israel, comprised of private and collective memory and postmemory and their clashing points. As a major point of reference, this study explores the specific allusion in all three texts to the iconic photograph of the surrendering child in the Warsaw Ghetto, highlighting its symbolic function in Israeli discussions of intergenerational trauma transmission. At the same time it argues that Bashir’s employment of this image reveals its potential to also garner sympathy toward Israel’s Others. Finally, it explores the unique combination of reproduced photographs and drawn ones, especially in Bashir, which simultaneously educes and questions photography as a path to memory. By referring to both private and public photographs, these texts also explore the place of public images in that process, thus touching on a tension inherent to Israeli culture from its earliest days—that between the individual and the collective.
"Take This Waltz, Take This Photo: Photography and Holocaust Memory in Israeli Graphic Novels,"
Jewish Film & New Media: Vol. 5:
2, Article 3.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/jewishfilm/vol5/iss2/3