Of course it’s every peasant whose forgiveness must be sought. But the rabbi’s point is even more tyrannical: nothing erases the immoral act. Not forgiveness. Not confession.
And even if an act could be forgiven, no one could bear the responsibility of forgiveness on behalf of the dead. No act of violence is ever resolved. When the one who can forgive can no longer speak, there is only silence.
Fugitive Pieces is a must read for those interested in Jewish fiction or the history of World War II. The book is told in two parts. In the first we have Jakob Beer, rescued as a child from the forces of WWII by a Greek scholar. He struggles mightily with the memories of his parents and sister. They haunt him throughout his life, overshadowing even the good. In the second, we have Ben, the son of two Holocaust survivors. He is much influenced by Jakob’s poetry, which helps him understand his parents’ deep emotional pain, and, in turn, his own. In this regard, I found the second section a bit reminiscent of Maus. In both parts, there is always the question of whether or not the survivors really and truly survived or if they are hopelessly caught in their pasts.
I have a difficult time reading anything about the Holocaust, even if it deals primarily about the aftermath of the survivors. But, I feel it is extremely important for me to do so. I highly recommend this book if you have a similar interest in this topic.
1996, 294 pp.