Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Maus: A Survivor's Tale by Art Spiegelman, Volume I, 1986; Volume II, 1991

 Winner of a special citation by the Pulitzer Prize Board in 1992 

Art Spiegelman’s award-winning graphic memoir introduces us to Art Spiegelman, author, and Vladek Spiegelman father and Holocaust survivor. Art Spiegelman interviewed his father over a period of many months, mainly at his father’s home in Rego Park, Queens, New York where Vladek lived with his second wife, also a survivor.

This work is many-layered: Art Speigelman has vividly drawn his father’s various situations in Poland as Vladek progressed from being a happy young man with prospects for financial success, partly due to his having been embraced by his well-established in-laws. He then moves on to discuss his extended family's progressively dire circumstances, to a description of his confinement at Auschwitz, to his release and his immigration to the US. 

 At the same time that we watch Vladek and his family’s situation unfold, we also learn about the complicated relationship Art Spiegelman had with his father as he was growing up. The graphic memoir is constructed of panels that weave together the past and the present. The story doesn't always unfold in a strictly chronological order. Sometimes we are in the present and see Art interviewing his father in Rego Park, sometimes we see reenactments of his father's past, sometimes we see reenactments of the author's childhood. This all serves to reinforce the idea that the present and the past are inextricably intertwined. This is a particularly apt approach for a story of a survivor and the child of survivors.

Art Spiegelman  seamlessly integrates dialogue and illustration. He includes maps and a diagram of Auschwitz and a few family photos. You can see from the drawing on the cover that he uses the symbolic technique of drawing the Jews as mice and the Nazis as cats.

To listen to an interview with Art Spiegelman and about the process of creating Maus and to see family photos and  some of his artwork, click here.

To read a subsequent post on this blog of Art Spiegelman's MetaMaus: A look inside a modern classic, click here.

Mr. Spiegelman - Vladeks’ father; the author’s grandfather
    Vladek Spiegelman – author’s father
    Fela Spiegelman – Vladek’s sister
    Markus Spiegelman – Vladek’s brother
    Moses Spiegelman – Vladek’s brother
    Leon Spiegelman – Vladek’s brother
    Pinek Spiegelman – Vladek’s brother; married Sarah from Lemberg;
    Zosha Spiegelman - Vladek's sister
   Yadja Spiegelman – Vladek’s sister

   Jakov Spiegelman - Vladek’s cousin
   Haskel Spiegelman– Vladek’s cousin
   Pesach Spiegelman – Vladek’s cousin. Haskel’s brother; wife - Rivka
   Miloch Spiegelman – Vladek’s cousin; Haskel and Pesach’s brother; wife Gutcha

Mr. and Mrs. Karmio -  grandparents of Anja Zyberberg Vladek’s 1st wife
Mr. and Mrs. Zylberberg; Anja’s parents
Tosha Zylberberg– his daughter; married to Wolfe
            Bibi- Tosha and Wolfe’s daughter
Anja (Anna) Zylberberg – Vladek’s 1st wife; author’s mother
            Richieu – first son of Vladek and Anja;
            Arthur – author, son of Vladek and Anja Zylberberg
        Mala – Vladek’s 2nd wife
Herman  Zylberberg -  Anja’s brother; married to Hela   
    Lolek Zylberberg; son of Herman and Helen
    Levek Zyberberg - relative

Friends and Acquaintances
Lucia Greenberg – Vladek’s first serious girlfriend
Mr. Ilzecki – tailor form Katowice
Nahum Cohn - owner of a dry goods store in Sosnowiec
Szklarczyk – owner of big grocery on Modrzejowska St.
Moniek Merin – head of Srodula ghetto
Mandelbaum – owned sweets shop in Sosnowiec
    Abraham – his nephew
Gelber – family, owners of bakery in Sosnowiec
Edgar and Mrs. Karp – neighbors in Catskills at bungalow colony; survivors

Czestochowa, Poland
Sosnowiec, Poland
Bielsko, Poland
Radomsko, Poland
Nurenberg, Germany
Lublin, Poland
Katowice, Poland
Dabrowa, Poland
Srodula, Poland
Szopienice, Poland
Auschwitz, Poland
Lodz, Poland

No comments:

Post a Comment