Kraus’s Illusion of Authenticity Cover Image

Krausova iluze autentičnosti
Kraus’s Illusion of Authenticity

Author(s): Martina Halamová
Subject(s): Studies of Literature, History of the Holocaust
Published by: Památník národního písemnictví
Keywords: Ota B. Kraus; Holocaust; Země bez Boha; Můj bratr dým; authenticity in fiction

Summary/Abstract: The article is a discussion of two novels by Ota (Otto) B. Kraus (1921–2000) – Země bez Boha (Land without God, 1948) and Můj bratr dým (Brother smoke, 1993; first published in English as The Painted Wall, 1994). Both works concern the Jewish experience in the socalled ‘Theresienstadt family camp’ in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Even though both portray the same events, each is different in the strategy it uses to make for an authentic representation of reality. This authenticity adds semantic weight to the narrative in the novels. Země bez Boha can reasonably be seen as a metaphor for the incommunicability of concentration camp suffering. The narrator of Můj bratr dým, by contrast, tries to understand the suffering of the prisoners, particularly the children, in Birkenau. Although he is a witness to these events, and tries to gather many documents about the Shoah, he is unable to understand it.

  • Issue Year: 2015
  • Issue No: 47
  • Page Range: 175-181
  • Page Count: 7
  • Language: Czech