The intersection of gender and religious language in Ruth Kluger's Still Alive

Ruth Fernandes

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This article analyzes the dimensions of religious discourse in Ruth Kluger’s memoir, Still Alive: A Holocaust Girlhood Remembered (2001). Specifically, I focus on how Kluger’s religious language intersects with her conceptualizations of gender and the Holocaust. First, I examine Kluger’s childhood memories, including her references to biblical inter­texts and her charged recollection of Jewish holidays. I then move on to analyze Kluger’s reflections on the issue of free will, often couched in “theological” terms, which appear in the latter part of her memoir deal­ing with her experience in the camps. I argue that both dimensions of Kluger’s religious language are intertwined with her memory of gender as part of her lived experience, as well as her ongoing construction of gender as an analytic category. Both dimensions occasionally overlap in Kluger’s narrative, revealing important ramifications for the debate about feminist engagement with the Holocaust. In this regard, I attend particu­larly to Kluger’s occasional construction of gendered essentialisms in her remembered confrontations with evil and authoritarianism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-96
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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