The Baroness of Have-Nothing

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Summary

 Like Art Spiegelman’s well-known graphic novel Maus, my work looks at World War II history through a personal and familial lens, and examines how cultural and political events shaped individual experiences and actions. I draw on the disciplines of Memory Studies, Trauma Theory, Comics Studies, German Literature, and on the emerging field of Graphic Medicine. I am creating a non-traditional dissertation in the form of a graphic novel that deals with the transgenerational reverberations of war and displacement. Unlike Spiegelman, my retracing is through a matrilineal and feminist lens, and, like contemporary authors Barbara Yelin (Irmina) and Nora Krug (Belonging), among other non-Jewish Germans of my generation (termed Kriegsenkel, or war grandchildren), I look critically at my relatives’ collusion with the National Socialists, as well as their suffering as a result of that regime, including rape and violent displacement.