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Volume 4, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2040-4344
  • E-ISSN: 2040-4352


Migrants tend to construct memory narratives of their former homelands. In the case of Holocaust survivors, the locations of family and community in Europe have been destroyed culturally and physically and have become ‘lost places’. Lives of Holocaust survivors are rarely thought about from the perspective of migrant biographies, even though only very few survivors returned to live in their former hometowns after liberation, but instead moved to countries around the world. This article explores how memory of place as a vital part of the migrant-survivor family has a transgenerational effect. Growing up with narratives of the landscapes of pre-war Jewish European life created a double sense of dislocation from the former generational site in children of survivors: both in time and in space. Reading two Jewish Australian memoirs – Lily Brett’s Between Mexico and Poland (2003) and Arnold Zable’s Jewels and Ashes (1991) – this article investigates the ‘return’ journeys of both authors to Poland. I argue that the parents’ former homelands hold great significance in their children’s lives, that journeys to actual locations of family memory are an attempt to uncover memory in situ and to integrate the spaces of pre-Holocaust past into their Second Generation life narratives. Such journeys uncover that, while a home, a family or a community are not to be found anymore, the literal, physical places of the parents’ past still exist and evoke a certain familiarity, as a result of the memory narratives that suffused the post-Holocaust family


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