Constructing the Imaginative Bridge: Third-Generation Holocaust Narratives

Megan Reynolds


This research examines the ways in which third generation Holocaust writers, or the grandchildren of Holocaust survivors, approach the subject of their own traumatic history and the intergenerational transmission of trauma. Despite the generational divide that separates the third generation from the preceding two generations of Holocaust writers, the trans-generational transmission of trauma continues to preoccupy contemporary narratives. This research discusses the innovative ways that third-generation writers, such as Nicole Krauss, Margot Singer, and Jonathan Safran Foer, use imaginative leaps throughout their writing and how such narrative techniques distinguish them from survivor and second-generation Holocaust representation. The third generation’s narratives of return and recovery stem from their desire to uncover the truth behind their traumatic familial history as well as their fragmented knowledge about this traumatic familial history. This paper refers to the grandchildren of Holocaust survivors’ fragmented knowledge about the horrors of the Holocaust as “lost worlds,” a motif that continues to arise in third-generation Holocaust narratives. Innovative imaginative leaps therefore serve as an attempt to bridge the gap between the third generation’s personal history and their families’ histories. Additionally, the unconventional use of such narrative patterns reflects the third generation’s endeavors to articulate their complicated familial history, a history they themselves may not entirely understand.


Holocaust Narratives; Third-Generation Holocaust Survivors; Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma

Full Text: PDF


  • There are currently no refbacks.