by Eva Hoffman

When (If Ever) Do We Relinquish Memory?

In the beginning was the war. That was my childhood. That was my childhood theory of origins, akin perhaps to certain childhood theories of sexuality. For me, the world as I knew it and the people in it emerged not from the womb, but from war The theory was perhaps understandable, for I was born in Poland, in 1945, that is, on the site of the Second World War’s greatest ravages; and so soon after the cataclysm as to conflate it with the cause of my own birth.

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