Puppet in the Hands of the Ventriloquist: A Jewish Child’s Genetic Heroism
3 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2012
Date Written: February 7, 2012
Lori Lefkovitz’s essay 'Inherited Holocaust Memory and the Ethics of Ventriloquism' is a journey through the mental struggles that appear to her as common among the children of Jews that survived the Holocaust. Specifically, Lori, the child of Holocaust survivors, questions her own difficulties as she is troubled by what her inherent thoughts and behavior implies. Her life, as she describes it, is characteristically similar to the role of a puppet in the hands of the ventriloquist, whose every expression is given meaning through the extension of its life giving conductor. Uncomfortably unsure of whether she is somehow taking advantage of her parent’s tragic past, Lori’s essay exposes her battles in coping with the ethical dilemmas that emerge out of a suspicion and contempt for her own motivations.
Lori’s life is not at all typical for a normal child of Jewish immigrants. In her essay, she characterizes her behavior as ' Dutifully preserving and passing on words.' She is distinctly different from Elie Weisel, the famous author of the award winning book 'Night', which exposed the horrors that he along with fellow Jews faced in Nazi Death Camps. Though she is compelled to preserve the memories of the Holocaust by relating it to others, it is not an experience for which she has first class knowledge of; for Lori is, as she describes, a '[person] who carr[ies] other people’s memories.' She is so obsessed with the telling of someone else’s story, that she 'feel[s] like a medium through whom other voices speak, the puppet in a ventriloquist act.'
Keywords: Jewish, Holocaust, Nazi Death Camps, Elie Weisel, ethics, Jews, Lefkovitz, immigrants, parent, child
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