Love and Miracles: Body, Feminine Self-Image and Family in Narratives by Two Holocaust Survivors from Salonika

in European Journal of Jewish Studies
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This article presents an in-depth literary analysis of two feminine personal narratives, survivors of the Salonika Holocaust, in an attempt to isolate the unique feminine voice that can be discerned from the narratives through the perception of the body and the female self-image. The two narratives offer two opposite models of behavior: one active, one passive. Aliza Baruch found her future husband in the camp and took care of her brother. Later she gave birth to two children even though she suffered sterilization experiments in Auschwitz. Aliza ascribes her survival to her determined nature, and to the force of love she felt within herself. Mary Nahman, who arrived at Auschwitz married and pregnant, perceived herself as a child who was not conscious of her surroundings but was a recipient of help from everybody. She ascribes her survival to external forces, divine assistance and miracles.

European Journal of Jewish Studies

The Journal of the European Association for Jewish Studies (Formerly: EAJS Newsletter)



Dalya Ofer and Lenore J. Weitzman, Women in the Holocaust (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998).


Manuela Consonni, “ ‘. . . O Auschwitz, ich kann dich nicht vergessen weil du mein Schicksal bist.’ Il corpo femminile e l’esperienza concentrazionaria,” Quaderni storici 138 (2012): 797–81.


Ahuva Cohen, Tracing the Life Stories of Holocaust Survivors from Greece in Israel (Jerusalem: Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2008); Raphael, Routes of Hell (see fn 4 above).


Shahar, Oh Madre, 127.


Refael, Routes of Hell, 107.


Refael, Routes of Hell, 371.


Shahar, Oh Madre, 141.


Shahar, Oh Madre, 145.


Shahar, Oh Madre, 156.


Judith Baumel, Double Jeopardy, Gender and the Holocaust (London, Portland: Vallentine Mitchell, 1998).


Judith Buber Agassi, “Camp Families of Jewish Women Prisoners in Ravensbruck,” in Women and Family in the Holocaust, ed. Esther Herzog (Israel: Beit Berl College, 2006), 95–112 [Hebrew].


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