Jewish Community Center of Washington, DC

Literary Festival/Gallery--A Thousand Darknesses
Washington DCJCC

Ruth Franklin, A Thousand Darknesses: Lies and Truth in Holocaust Fiction

franklin, thousand darknessesTuesday, October 19 
7:30 pm | Ina and Jack Kay Community Hall
Tickets: $11, Discounted Members/Seniors/Under 25 $9

Introduction by Leon Wieseltier, Literary Editor at The New Republic.

In 2008, Misha Defonseca, a Belgian Holocaust “survivor” made national headlines when it was revealed that her bestselling Holocaust memoir was more fiction than memoir. Defonseca was not Jewish, was never in the Warsaw ghetto, was never adopted by wolves which staved off Nazi capture, nor was her name Misha Defonseca for that matter. Later in 2008 another Holocaust memoir, hailed by Oprah as “the greatest love story,” was also revealed to be pure fabrication. 

What is the difference between writing a novel about the Holocaust and fabricating a memoir about it? Do narratives about the Holocaust have a special obligation to be “truthful” and faithful to historical fact? From works by Elie Wiesel and Primo Levi, to Steven Spielberg's Schindler’s List and Jonathan Safran Foer’s postmodernist family history Everything Is Illuminated, Franklin muses about the role imagination plays in the creation of any literary work and argues for fiction as an equally vital vehicle for understanding the Holocaust.

ruth franklinRuth Franklin is a literary and cultural critic and a senior editor at The New Republic. Her book reviews and essays appear also in The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, Granta, Slate, and other publications.

Sponsored by Susan and Marshall Bykofsky.

Presented in partnership with the 16th Street J’s Ann Loeb Bronfman Gallery.

This program is co-sponsored by The George Washington University Department of English, The Johns Hopkins University MA in Writing Program, The New Republic and The Writer's Center.


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Time: 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM

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