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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

The Jew Uncut: Circumcising Holocaust Representation in Europa Europa

Holocaust and Genocide Education, Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission, Austin, TX 78701, USA
Humanities 2021, 10(2), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10020064
Received: 28 January 2021 / Revised: 25 March 2021 / Accepted: 27 March 2021 / Published: 7 April 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Literary Response to the Holocaust)
Film adaptations invariably yield insights into their written source material, at least to the extent that they elect to translate or omit what may be deemed the literature’s essential components. This is certainly the case for director Agnieszka Holland’s 1990 film, Europa Europa, which adapts Solomon Perel’s account of surviving the Shoah. By drawing on discourse in Holocaust studies and adaptation studies, and by examining the film adaptation’s points of alignment with what Perel records in his memoir, I argue that Europa Europa resists the dominant trend of de-Judaizing the Shoah in artistic representation. Europa Europa privileges explicitly Jewish content and an unmistakably Jewish point of view by focusing on the theme of circumcision. In doing so, the film succeeds in highlighting how the Shoah was, at its core, a campaign to annihilate not just the Jewish people, but also the longstanding principle of the Jewish covenant with the Eternal, as embodied by circumcision. Through its cutting and reshaping of the memoir’s details, Holland’s film seeks to establish a covenant with the viewer to bear witness to the Jewish spirit of the survivor’s testimony. The film presents a model for representing the Holocaust in art, a model that masterfully defies the de-Judaization of society that the Nazis envisioned and tried to make real. View Full-Text
Keywords: Holocaust; survivor memoir; film adaptation; Jewish identity; covenant; circumcision Holocaust; survivor memoir; film adaptation; Jewish identity; covenant; circumcision
MDPI and ACS Style

Wolfson, J.E. The Jew Uncut: Circumcising Holocaust Representation in Europa Europa. Humanities 2021, 10, 64. https://doi.org/10.3390/h10020064

AMA Style

Wolfson JE. The Jew Uncut: Circumcising Holocaust Representation in Europa Europa. Humanities. 2021; 10(2):64. https://doi.org/10.3390/h10020064

Chicago/Turabian Style

Wolfson, Jeffrey E. 2021. "The Jew Uncut: Circumcising Holocaust Representation in Europa Europa" Humanities 10, no. 2: 64. https://doi.org/10.3390/h10020064

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