Do you have to be Jewish to write about the Holocaust?
I have a book of three award winning shorts - each takes a different aspect from the Holocaust; the uprising of the Warsaw Ghetto, a love story between a German soldier and a prisoner, and the escape from Sobibor. The book, "Trio of Horrors: Three Tales from the Holocaust" has done quite well in Kindle format. I donate 10% to Yad Vashem and the NY Holocaust Museum. One of the oddest and most frequent comments is - are you trying to exploit and make money off the Jews? You aren't even Jewish. I didn't know compassion and passion for a subject was dependent on race or creed. I have studied decad
Only someone who was never anywhere near a Nazi death camp would say such a thing to you. Was Harriet Beecher Stowe exploiting and making money off of slaves by selling her book?--no.
I agree with Old Empresario. I'm not African-American, but I speak up against racial discrimination in America, and I would write a novel about it. That doesn't mean I'm expoiting the African-Amerians. I applaud you for your topic for your books. I believe everyone and anyone should speak out against the Holocaust. What better way than a novel? I would ignore the critics, as I really don't think they have a valid point,
I agree with your first two answers. I believe that there is no reason a good writer cannot write about this subject and do it justice. Congratulations on your success. It is unfortunate that when someone does well, there is always someone who wants to knock them down. Keep writing, you obviously have a gift.
You can write about a subject from many perspectives. It is this way with the Holocaust, also.
But to truly, express, the FEAR, the uncertanity, the unsureness, the lingering questions, the senseless and inhumane loss.......it would help to have some exeperience.
But almost anyone, can write a historical document.
It would take the "Jew"....( I HATE that term ) to truly, take us there, to the inside, and to make us "feel" as though we were living inside the book.
The, difference, in perspective, will come across as compassion, fear, turmoil, uncertainity..................................quality, viabilty, readability..................
You ( as a writer) must make ME want to read your take, rather than a true accounting of being there..............It will be a tough act!
Any subject cannot be limited to a certain race - that would just make the world more insufferable and unusable then it already is.
I write about World War I, II, Cold War and Medieval times yet I've never been around for any of that. I actually find researching and digging out facts about all wars, then writing about them is much more fulfilling. I also write about places I have never been to; like Machu Picchu, and try to tell people about the effects tourism has on the places.
Write in what aspires you and never get told what you can and cannot publish, if you're happy with what you're doing then keep going. Unless you're committing a crime in writing then nothing is stopping you.
thank you for all the insightful and supportive answers. The quality of the work was not in question (that was nice ) but my motive. My motive was that I had been studying the Holocaust for decades and wanted to give back to those that survived, died, were persecuted, and lived during that time. I think the three issues addressed were well researched and done in perspective. Thank you again for helping me with this criticism.
Hmmm, did J K Rollins go to Hogwarts?
your predicament though may seem farcical to many (to a certain level even to me) but it isn't very far removed from one of the cetral problems of Dalit writing in Indian contemporary literature. Most Dalits (historically marginalized communities) vehemently (almost sacredly) guard their right to write about/ on Dalit issues. Normally i answer to such an accusation with a curt, who writes for the cows? But today i will go to Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak's "Can the subaltern speak?"
Is the outsiders view of the historical victim's condition, an educated, privileged, academic, institutionalized discourse that classifies and surveys the victim in the same measure as actual modes of objectification that it wants to dismantle? "The academic assumption of a subaltern collectivity becomes akin to an ethnocentric extension of the non-Jewish logos.
But having said that, i am strongly against the need to bear historical baggage. Most historical victimization seems to have seeped into the modern world in a garb of romantic victim syndrome where the grandchildren bears the burden/ skeletons of the past. and thereby making the act of modern reconciliation and blurring of segregation very highly difficult. Objectivity is completely lost in a subjective viewpoint of the past.
There is nothing wrong with writing about history if every aspect of it is correct and not romanticised. We have to have documentation about the history of the world in order to be able to identify ourselves, and also, if possible, to avoid disastrous history repeating itself. I have not read your stories about the Warsaw Ghetto, but being married to a German (we were both born during WWII) with Polish relatives, I have heard some first hand stories of imprisonment and survival in Poland. I live just a short car drive from the Dachau Memorial Site. If you ever have the opportunity to visit this site, do so. There is nothing like the gloom of this place to really show us how little we really know and understand, and I mean all of us, not just you.
"One of the oddest and most frequent comments is - are you trying to exploit and make money off the Jews? You aren't even Jewish."
When someone says something like that it's a red flag that means "run". Whoever is saying that is not a reasoning person. To begin with they are saying anyone who writes about the Jews is exploiting them but somehow if they are Jewish it would be OK to exploit them...?
Like playing the race card they are playing the Jew card for sure and people who do that are dangerous. Dangerous to intellectual pursuits and dangerous to our civil rights in that they are belittling the injustice of true bigotry.
But what would life be like without it's occasional insanities. We wouldn't be having this interaction on your "Question" if these loons didn't exist. Imagine someone saying that, and THEY probably weren't even Jewish! :-)
With an experience so overwhelming, I should think it helps not to be Jewish. Someone who went through the horror may be unable to speak of it. Elie Wiesel vowed to remain silent for 10 years, before he started writing about it.
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