My Holocaust by Tova Reich
A Novel

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Maurice and Norman Messer, father-and-son business partners, know a good product when they see it. That product is the Holocaust, and Maurice, a Holocaust survivor with an inflated personal history, and Norman, enjoying vicarious victimhood as a participant in the second-generation movement, proceed to market it enthusiastically. Not even the disappearance of Nechama, Norman's daughter and Maurice's granddaughter, into the Carmelite convent at Auschwitz, where she is transformed into a nun, Sister Consolatia of the Cross, deters them from pushing their agenda.

Father and son embark on a tour of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, which Maurice—now the driving force behind the most powerful Holocaust memorialization institution in America—organizes to soften up a potential major donor, and which Norman takes advantage of to embark on a surrealistic search for his daughter. At the death camp they run into assorted groups and individuals all clamoring for a piece of the Holocaust, including Buddhist New Agers on a retreat, Israeli schoolchildren on a required heritage pilgrimage, a Holocaust artifact hustler, filmmakers, and an astonishing collection of others. All hell breaks loose when Maurice's museum is taken over by a coalition of self-styled victims seeking Holocaust status, bringing together a vivid cast of all-too-human characters, from Holocaust professionals to Holocaust wannabees of every persuasion, in the fevered competition to win the grand prize of owning the Holocaust.

An inspiringly courageous and shockingly original tour-de-force, My Holocaust dares to penetrate territory until now considered sacrosanct in its brilliantly provocative and darkly comic exploration of the uses and abuses of memory and the meaning of human suffering.


About Tova Reich

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Tova Reich is the author of the novels Mara and Master of the Return, which won the Edgar Lewis Wallant Award for fiction. Her stories and reviews have appeared in, among other publications, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, and The New York Times. She lives on the fringe of Washington, D.C., with her husband and children.From the Hardcover edition.
Published October 13, 2009 by HarperCollins e-books. 338 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for My Holocaust

Kirkus Reviews

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Here, irrepressible (and fraudulent) survivor Maurice Messer, late of Holocaust Connections, Inc., now the president-appointed chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, taps his latest wealthy victim for funds.

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The New York Times

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an organization calling itself United Holocausts seizes control of the museum, promising to occupy it “until equal representation is given to all Holocausts, public and private, personal and global, animal, vegetable and mineral.” Although the book’s lawyerly, cover-your-tuchis disclaimer says re...

May 27 2007 | Read Full Review of My Holocaust: A Novel

Entertainment Weekly

Fair warning to the easily offended: No activist on behalf of any suffering class, however worthy, gets by unscathed in My Holocaust, Tova Reich's incendiary, important, furiously hilarious satire of the victim-commemoration industry.

Mar 30 2007 | Read Full Review of My Holocaust: A Novel

Bookmarks Magazine

Holocaust survivor Maurice Messer, chairman of the U.S. Holocaust Museum, and his neurotic son Norman, president of Holocaust Connections Inc., know how to exploit tragedy.

Aug 02 2007 | Read Full Review of My Holocaust: A Novel

Project MUSE

And in "Don't Touch My Holocaust—Analyzing the Barometer of Responses: Israeli Artists Challenge the Holocaust Taboo," Tami Katz-Freiman helps us navigate the tricky waters surrounding the representation of the Holocaust in modern-day Israel.

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