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The post-Holocaust poems of Nelly Sachs and Rose Ausländer demonstrate shifts toward experimentation in form and message, particularly in relation to religious belief and the expressive potential of poetic language. The experience of the Holocaust forced both authors to confront the interconnections between their Jewishness, their relationship to the German language, and their displacements as homeless exiles. They turned to poetry as a means of mediating the past in the present, and their post-Holocaust writings represent acts of both remembrance and reproduction. As victims and witnesses to suffering, devastation, and loss, Sachs and Ausländer appealed to images of the maternal in an effort to recreate the intimacy and security of the irretrievably lost past, adapting the multivalence of the Mother for their own purposes in the pursuit of a new language of faith. (KB)

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Copyright © 1996, University of Nebraska Press. This article first appeared in Women in German Yearbook 12 (1996), 123-147.

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