Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis open access



First Advisor

Victoria Aarons

Second Advisor

Willis Salomon

Third Advisor

Peter Balbert


In contemporary Jewish graphic memoir, the representations of Shoah memory depart from the clear path set forward by Art Spiegelman’s foundational work, MAUS. Tracing depictions of Jewish identity generationally, we see a continued anxiety about the representation of history and, moving into the fourth-generation of survivors, we see a further fragmentation of memory and a resulting fragmentation of personal identity. The stark differences between the third generation and the fourth generation reveal the difference between the archivist tendencies of the third generation and a fourth generation that is coming of age almost a century removed from the events of the Shoah. When examining the graphic memoirs of two modern Jewish women seeking understanding of themselves and their places in the community, Amy Kurzweil’s Flying Couch and Liana Finck’s Passing for Human, it is apparent that the preoccupations present in all Holocaust memoir— namely the conceit of the “presence of an absence,” complex narrative structure, and an anxiety over one’s duty to remember—will continue into the fourth generation but in a slightly more abstracted way. Ultimately, for the purposes of this thesis, I argue that Liana Finck’s graphic memoir, Passing for Human, depicts a tension intrinsic to fourth-generation Holocaust survivors, the first generation tasked with guarding Holocaust memory with no survivor touchstones to the events of the Shoah. Finck’s fantastic, abstracted, and self-referential memoir departs from the concrete path set forth in the third-generation graphic memoir Flying Couch, and the second- generation Maus, ultimately pointing to the ways that the relationship between Holocaust memory and Jewish identity will further evolve into the fourth-generation.