Children of Job

American Second-Generation Witnesses to the Holocaust

By Alan L. Berger

Subjects: Holocaust Studies
Series: SUNY series in Modern Jewish Literature and Culture
Paperback : 9780791433584, 256 pages, April 1997
Hardcover : 9780791433577, 256 pages, May 1997

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Table of contents


Foreword by

Elie Wiesel


Chapter 1. Introduction

The Second-Generation Witness: Inheriting the Holocaust

Particularism and Universalism

Children of Survivors and Children of Job

Theological Sequelae

Universal Questions

The Search for Tikkun

Chapter 2 From Pathology to Theology: The Emergence of the Second-Generation Witness

The American Second Generation: A Brief History

A New Generation of Jewish Writers and Filmmakers

Post-Auschwitz Covenant Theology

Elie Wiesel and the Additional Covenant

Irving Greenberg and the Voluntary Covenant

M Emil L. Fackenheim and the Search for a Post-Aushwitz Tikkun Olam

Richard L. Rubenstein: "God after the Death of God"

Chapter 3 Second-Generation Novels and Short Stories: Jewish Particularism

Damaged Goods

Summer Long-a-Coming


Short Stories: A Biographical Note

Stories of an Imaginary Childhood and While The Messiah Tarries

Dancing at the Club Holocaust and Forms of Captivity and Escape

Elijah Visible


Chapter 4 Second-Generation Novels and Short Stories: Jewish Universalism

The Flood

White Lies

Dancing on Tisha B'Av and Winter Eyes


Chapter 5 Second-Generation Documentaries and Docudramas: Jewish Particularism


A Generation Apart

Breaking the Silence

Half-Sister, Everything's For You, and In Memory


The Docudramas: The Dr. John Haney Sessions and Open Secrets


Chapter 6 Second-Generation Documentaries and Docudramas: Jewish Universalism

As If It Were Yesterday

Weapons Of The Spirit

So Many Miracles

Voices From The Attic


Chapter 7 Whither The Future?

Working through the Holocaust

Riders towards the Dawn

Children of Job and Covenantal Judaism



An original contribution to Holocaust studies that demonstrates the theological and psychosocial issues emerging in novels and films by sons and daughters of survivors.


Focusing on the novels and films of daughters and sons of Holocaust survivors, this book sheds light on the relationship between the Holocaust and contemporary Jewish identity. It is the first systematic analysis of a body of work that introduces a new generation of Jewish writers and filmmakers, as well as revealing how the survivors' legacy is shaping--and being shaped by--the second generation.

Carefully studying the work of these contemporary children of Job, Berger demonstrates how the offspring, like the survivors themselves, represent a variety of orientations to Judaism, have significant theological differences, and share the legacy of the Shoah. Berger clearly shows that members of the second generation participate fully in both the American and Jewish dimensions of their identity and articulates distinctive second-generation theological and psychosocial themes.

Alan L. Berger is Raddock Eminent Scholar Chair of Holocaust Studies and Director of Judaic Studies at Florida Atlantic University. He is the author of Crisis and Covenant: The Holocaust in American Jewish Fiction, also published by SUNY Press; editor of Judaism in the Modern World; and coeditor of Methodology in the Academic Teaching of the Holocaust.


"It is the most comprehensive analysis of material on the second generation. Alan Berger shows an excellent, comprehensive knowledge of American literary work on the subject as well as the mainstream major critical analysis of the material. "— Yaffa Eliach, author/creator of the Tower of Life at the U. S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

"It is an original approach to a topic which has not been sufficiently explored until now. " — Elie Wiesel