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Where Memory Leads: My Life
     

Where Memory Leads: My Life

by Saul Friedlander
 

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In this sequel to the classic work of Holocaust literature When Memory Comes, a Pulitzer Prize–winning historian returns to memoir to recount this tale of intellectual coming-of-age on three continents
 
Forty years after his acclaimed, poignant first memoir, Friedländer returns with WHEN MEMORY COMES:

Overview

In this sequel to the classic work of Holocaust literature When Memory Comes, a Pulitzer Prize–winning historian returns to memoir to recount this tale of intellectual coming-of-age on three continents
 
Forty years after his acclaimed, poignant first memoir, Friedländer returns with WHEN MEMORY COMES: THE LATER YEARS, bridging the gap between the ordeals of his childhood and his present-day towering reputation in the field of Holocaust studies. After abandoning his youthful conversion to Catholicism, he rediscovers his Jewish roots as a teenager and builds a new life in Israeli politics.
 
Friedländer's initial loyalty to Israel turns into a lifelong fascination with Jewish life and history. He struggles to process the ubiquitous effects of European anti-Semitism while searching for a more measured approach to the Zionism that surrounds him. Friedländer goes on to spend his adulthood shuttling between Israel, Europe, and the United States, armed with his talent for language and an expansive intellect. His prestige inevitably throws him up against other intellectual heavyweights. In his early years in Israel, he rubs shoulders with the architects of the fledgling state and brilliant minds such as Gershom Scholem and Carlo Ginzburg, among others.
 
Most importantly, this memoir led Friedländer to reflect on the wrenching events that induced him to devote sixteen years of his life to writing his Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece, The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“When Memory Comes retains the very texture of recollection in a literary style characterized by tact and elegance…[the book] is faithful to the workings of memory: It doesn’t arrive all at once; it reappears, often without warning, to interrupt the present with the aroma, and the pain, of the past… Where Memory Leads describes in more prosaic, chronological form the itinerary of a historian whose life work has been to piece together an account of massive, state-sponsored crimes while making a place for the voices of those mercilessly persecuted…When Memory Comes was written in the key of memory, a register replete with sensation and emotion but that can offer no lessons. Where Memory Leads is written in the key of history, a register that moves from meaning to message. Here, the author is crystal clear. ‘The only lesson one could draw from the Shoah was precisely the imperative: stand against injustice.’ Obligation fulfilled.” — Wall Street Journal

“[When Memory Comes] is a small classic of Holocaust literature. With a light brush, bringing events in and out of focus, the author depicts his early years in Prague, where he was born in 1932 to Jewish parents who considered themselves culturally German; the family’s move to Paris and flight to Vichy; his seclusion and conversion in a Catholic seminary; his parents’ attempted escape to Switzerland and their disappearance, ultimately to die in Auschwitz. It is a shattering story, written in 1977 in Israel, where Friedländer went first to fight and later to teach, salted with observations on the Jewish state and relations with the Palestinians, a never-ending debate in which he participates forcefully from the left. Where Memory Leads follows suit, telling a painful post-war story both personal and national, woven into discussions of teaching posts outside Israel, in Geneva and Los Angeles, where he is emeritus professor of history at UCLA.”
 Guardian (US) 

“Friedlander, who lost his parents in the Holocaust and survived as a child hidden in a catholic seminary in central France, went on to become an accomplished polyglot, at home in Israel, Europe and the United States. Friedlander's childhood…was the subject of a first, more typical "survivor" memoir, titled "When Memory Comes."…the book is a fractured and evocative account of Friedlander's early years and separation from his parents, written in Israel in the heavy aftermath of the Yom Kippur War. ”Where Memory Leads” is a more literal project...More than anything else “Where Memory Leads” chronicles Friedlander’s professional success, in particular his most significant achievement: a two-volume history of the Nazis and the Jews from 1933 to 1945, a period he divides into “the years of persecution” and “the years of extermination.”… In it, Friedlander deftly wove an account of Nazi policies with records of the daily life of Germans and testimony from victims…Friedlander, more than most, has made lasting contributions to scholarship – in his writing on the Nazi era, but also in his role investigating the relationships between the Nazis and powerful institutions, corporations and nations. With a cleareyed moral imperative, he opposes the Palestinian occupation, repeatedly demands accountability from Israeli leaders for their support of West Bank settlements and rails against use of the Shoah as a pretext for mistreatment of Palestinians.” — The New York Times Book Review 

“Friedländer (history, Univ. of California, Los Angeles; The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939–1945), a leading Holocaust scholar, has given us a follow-up of sorts to his 1977 memoir, When Memory Comes. While that title focused on his childhood and the tragic separation from his parents (who were killed during the Holocaust), this one ranges across his life. The primary focus is on his intellectual and political development and ambivalent relationship, both politically and as a citizen, with Israel. A charming aspect of the book is the author’s frequent and ironic acknowledgement that memory doesn’t always work the way we want it to…Friedländer is an engaging writer and personality. This is an important book for readers interested in intellectual history and the history of Israel.” — Library Journal

“Ultimately, Friedländer would become both an apologist for Israeli policies and a critic of its racism toward the Palestinians. However, he embarked on graduate work in international studies in Geneva in 1961, pursuing his studies in his "monomaniacal way," supporting a family yet suffering from debilitating anxiety that required intensive drugs as well as psychoanalysis. His initial book exposing the complicity between Pius XII and the Nazi regime led him to devote his subsequent work to European fascism, modern anti-Semitism, and the Holocaust. A "difficult stay in Berlin in the mid-eighties," when he was confronted by a new wave of "apologetic" scholarship about Nazi Germany, reinforced his decision about his work… the book is haunting in scope and depth.” — Kirkus Reviews 

“Written by the Pulitzer Prize-winning Holocaust historian who came to call him¬self Saul Friedlander, When Memory Comes was published in 1978; translated from the French by Helen Lane, the book was recog¬nized as a lapidary masterpiece, evoking the author's traumatic childhood, his conver¬sion to Catholicism, and his gradual redis¬covery of his Jewish roots in adolescence with the lightest of touches. . . For those who missed out on the book when it origi¬nally appeared, it has now been reissued, with an elegant introduction by Claire Messud, in tandem with a new memoir, Where Memory Leads, which picks up threads of the earlier narrative. . .Where Memory Leads is an intellectual as well as personal meditation, and among the many pleasures of reading itis the lucid and insightful analysis it provides of the Israeli occupation, its sources in Israeli myths of the Sabra and of national memory, and ‘the danger of a moral degradation that the occupation could foster within Israeli soci¬ety.’ . . . This is a book about growing up in the shadow of a dark history¬…Friedlander's memoir, in its rigorous attention to the major and minor devastations that his life has wrought, will set you thinking about your own responses to the collective damage of history. And yet, for all the gravity of his reflections, Friedlander is never self-important, nor does his prose swell. Indeed, it's a tribute to his consuming honesty and taste for understatement that the reader comes away with a sense of the com¬plexity and hesitancy that marks a life that, in other hands, might have been presented as one long triumphal march.” — BookForum 

“When Memory Comes is a small masterpiece in the literature of the Holocaust. Its new sequel, Where Memory Leads, is a more conventional kind of memoir because it deals with a more normal, adult life, but it displays the same probing intelligence at work. … Taken together, these books form a primary document of modern Jewish history—a contribution to the study of the past that uses the tools not of the historian, but of the autobiographer. A scholar attempts to ascertain details and facts, and synthesize them into a complete narrative. A memoirist, however, knows that what matters most about the past, the way it felt, is always elusive, partial, reconstructed rather than recollected.”  Tablet Magazine 

“This autobiography records both the public and the private sides of Friedlander’s life story. It offers full disclosure of the politics of academia in the different schools in which he has taught, and explains the methodology and motivation of his scholarly endeavors. It describes his family life and the way he has adjusted to the different places in which he has lived, as well. His grandchildren will learn much from this account. So too will those of us who want to know what this tumultuous period of history that we have lived through has done to mold, and change, and then change again the lives of one who has lived through it, and who has documented and sought to explain the horrendous evil that was at the heart of it.” — The Jewish Advocate 
“Forty years after the publication of his acclaimed first memoir, When Memory Comes, Pulitzer Prize–winning Holocaust historian Saul Friedländer revisits his formative years in France, Israel, and the United States, and the harrowing events that influenced his studies of Jewish life and history.”  Poets & Writers 

“This is an often poignant rendering of a life brimming with both fulfillment and unsatisfied longings.” — Booklist 

“Friedlander’s memoir addresses his personal life outside of his historical work and experiences.” — Jewish Book Council 

Kirkus Reviews
★ 2016-07-19
A foremost Holocaust scholar carefully reflects on his harsh early years and lifelong academic mission in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Geneva, and Los Angeles.Writing this second memoir (When Memory Comes, 1977) in his early 80s, Friedländer (Emeritus, History/UCLA; Franz Kafka: Poet of Shame and Guilt, 2013, etc.) is acutely aware of a deteriorating memory and the need for emotional elucidation. He uses his early trauma of losing his parents during a roundup of Jews in southern France in 1942 as the point of departure for exploring the upheaval that characterized much of his adult life. Hidden in a Catholic seminary, the author was essentially orphaned when his parents were arrested at the Swiss border and sent to Auschwitz. Schooled in France as a fervent Catholic, Friedländer eventually ran away to join the Irgun youth movement in the new state of Israel in 1948—he admits his “core identity” is being a nonreligious Jew “yet indelibly marked by the Shoah. Ultimately, I am nothing else.” From there, he began a peripatetic existence pursuing political science in Paris and becoming World Jewish Congress President Nachum Goldman’s political secretary and later Shimon Peres’ assistant, spending most of his time in Jerusalem. Ultimately, Friedländer would become both an apologist for Israeli policies and a critic of its racism toward the Palestinians. However, he embarked on graduate work in international studies in Geneva in 1961, pursuing his studies in his “monomaniacal way,” supporting a family yet suffering from debilitating anxiety that required intensive drugs as well as psychoanalysis. His initial book exposing the complicity between Pius XII and the Nazi regime led him to devote his subsequent work to European fascism, modern anti-Semitism, and the Holocaust. A “difficult stay in Berlin in the mid-eighties,” when he was confronted by a new wave of “apologetic” scholarship about Nazi Germany, reinforced his decision about his work. Though dry in tone, the book is haunting in scope and depth.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590518090
Publisher:
Other Press, LLC
Publication date:
11/08/2016
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
135,173
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author

Saul Friedländer is an award-winning Israeli historian and currently a professor of history at UCLA. He was born in Prague to a family of German-speaking Jews, grew up in France, and experienced the German Occupation of 1940-1944. His historical works have garnered much praise and recognition, including the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction for his book The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945.

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