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Jacobs, L. (2018). History and Memory as Ethical Practice: A Review Essay of Not in My Family: German Memory and Responsibility After the Holocaust by Roger Frie. Psychoanal. Self. Cxt., 13(2):186-192.

(2018). Psychoanalysis, Self, and Context, 13(2):186-192

Book Reviews

History and Memory as Ethical Practice: A Review Essay of Not in My Family: German Memory and Responsibility After the Holocaust by Roger Frie

Lynne Jacobs, Ph.D.

Roger Frie is telling one small story. That is all. However, his story lives within a larger story about fragment and fracture; a story about a period of history that overwhelms regular language and syntax. No story can tell the story of this time. And yet through this one story, carefully told, honestly unpacked, we undergo a multilayered experience that has lesson upon lesson upon lesson to teach us. Lessons to teach us about history and memory and their interplay. Lessons about the fracturing and rebuilding of our experiential worlds as we engage in honest explorations of our place in the world. Lessons about living with our inescapable complicity in the destructive dehumanization and exclusion of others. The story is a meditation on the functions of history, memory, resistance, and reckoning. Told in the form of a journey of reclamation and reckoning, it is a perfect example of the power of particulars to illuminate general themes.

Frie was born in North America to postwar German immigrant parents, who eventually moved back to Europe. As a child he often spent lengthy vacations in Germany visiting with his maternal grandparents and extended family members. Like many immigrant children, German, the language of his family, was his native tongue. The book takes us with him on a journey of fearful discovery: the unbidden recognition that his beloved German grandfather was a member of the Nazi Party and a participant in the NSKK, a paramilitary car and motorcycle club that was a branch of the Nazi regime and an integral part of its racial ideology.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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