UGA – Holocaust Film and Literature class
On October 24th, I sat in on Dr. Ari Lieberman’s class at the University of Georgia, where they were discussing the book “Maus”. If you haven’t read it, the author, Art Spiegelman, wrote about his father’s experience during the Holocaust, and he wrote it as a cartoon, with the Jews being mice, the Germans being Cats, the Americans portrayed as dogs and the Poles as Pigs. The question came up during the class “Is the book fiction or non-fiction, and why did the author use mice?”
This class helped me reflect on the literary importance of my project. I am struck by the differences in how survivors are either comforted, or disturbed, by the retelling of their stories. Some write beautiful expressions and find happiness out of these horrible experiences, like my Opie Hugo. Other survivors are only comfortable telling their story in an interview format, such as my Great Aunt Inge. In the Holocaust Survivor’s Cookbook, many of the stories tell in graphic detail the horror endured, and this makes those stories often difficult to finish reading.
I am still young and still trying to understand why there is such a range of emotion in telling these survivor stories, but I would like to thank Dr. Lieberman for opening my eyes to a new way to understand and examine this topic.
In answer to his question, is the book fiction or non-fiction, I believe that the story is non-fiction because even though it is told as a comic, it is the author’s way to express his father’s story. I think Spiegelman used mice to demonstrate the fear that the Jews had of the Nazis.