And it’s overwhelming me.
I finished reading Maus a few hours ago, and I can’t stop thinking about it; I don’t think a literary work has ever affected me as much.
Maus: A Survivor’s Tale, by Art Spiegelman, is a memoir of Art Spiegelman listening to his father, Vladek Spiegelman, a Polish Jew and Holocaust survivor, retelling his story. It alternates between descriptions of Vladek’s life in Poland before and during the Second World War and Vladek’s later life in the Rego Park neighborhood of New York City
I’m just going to come out and say it. I’m an ignorant person. I knew about the Holocaust. I knew about Hitler. I knew about Auschwitz. I knew about the gas chambers. And… well, I’ve already crudely simplified it, but, these were events of the past, and had no impact on me. I accepted that they happened, I was disgusted by it, but again, it was just another “fact” or piece of history that I acknowledged.
Then I read Maus, and now the weight of what occured during those years, and the lasting impact it has had on survivors, and the generations after, is starting to hit me. Don’t get me wrong, I am in NO WAY claiming to understand I know how it feels, as I am so far removed from this, but, I will forever look at it from a completely different perspective, and it’s a perspective I am grateful I have gained, and I feel a little less ignorant as a result.