The aim of this article is to outline the main problems connected with the socio-cultural contexts and formal shape of women's Holocaust autobiographies. In the memoirs or diaries of the Polish-Jewish women survivors the typical features of the genre (women's biographies) are subject to considerable alteration: some of them do not appear at all, while others, usually marginal, acquire a constitutive function. This is true of all kinds of wartime histories, set down both by the female prisoners of ghettos and concentration camps as well as those women that managed to find cover on the Aryan side. The examination of more than twenty personal records, among them memoirs of Cywia Lubetkin, Basia Temkin-Bermanowa and Halina Zawadzka, reveals that they express a wide range of personal philosophies and narrative strategies. The spectrum extends from writers who assume the role of active history-makers to those who are wholly preoccupied with the description of existential small worlds. Moreover, each approach strives to adopt a uniquely fitting narrative perspective, set of topoi and style.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.