A moving journey of discovery into the unexplored continent that is often our families’ past. It can be read as a reconstruction of one’s own Jewish and at the same time European-South African roots, but through these micro-histories we arrive at the events of the Second World War and the Holocaust to the level of macro-history.
Egonne Roth’s work brilliantly illustrates the complex mechanism of intergenerational, communicative memory and cultural memory (described by Jan and Aleida Assmann, among others). On a feminist level, it is also a personal history of the daughter-father relationship, leading to a kind of purification, a catharsis.
The detective-like reconstruction of the multi-ethnic segments of the family’s history has as its backdrop the arduous completion of one’s own biography from scraps of documents, accounts of the now few witnesses, secrets, and traumas hidden for decades.