Shoah Business

Lisa Kron Tells Her Father’s Story of the Holocaust

Kron says that from her father's point of view, if you don't look at genocide that way, you haven't learned anything: "We say, 'Never forget,' but what are you remembering if what you come away with is, good people are victims and bad people hurt them." Her point is that if you make it that simple, there's no way to keep it from happening again. The Nazis, after all, were the champions of making things simple. "I'm disturbed so often by what I see in Holocaust museums, which are all about pushing peoplebuttons and allowing them to feel this moral outrage without challenging them. I don't think many of us are prepared to raise our voices and go against the crowd. Yet we can look at the Holocaust and convince ourselves that we would have.

At its best, the work of the second generation can add shades of gray. Kron's piece seeks to rescue the Shoah from sentimentality, but not from humor. And, like Maus, it is very much about her bond with her father. Spiegelman, for all his rage, is clearly bonded with his.

It's bonding around a story and the need to keep it alive. Kron's father seems to be aware of this unspoken agenda. He has seen 2.5 Minute Ride and his critical assessment is: "Nice eulogy, but I'm not dead yet." Still, she thinks he's relieved that the story has now become public.

"We say, 'Never forget,'" notes Kron, "but what are you remembering if what you come away with is, good people are victims and bad people hurt them."
robin holland
"We say, 'Never forget,'" notes Kron, "but what are you remembering if what you come away with is, good people are victims and bad people hurt them."

This week, Kron has taken a few days off from performing to go to Germany once again with her father. It's the 1275th anniversary of his hometown. "They're having a week of reconciliation, a commemoration for the Jewish population that's left," she says. She hadn't wanted to go since it conflicted with her run. But then she called her father to say so, and he responded with a disappointed "Oh boy."

"It was like a dagger in my heart," says Kron. "It became clear to me that he was horribly disappointed, and in thinking about that, I realized that my function in his life is to be the person who creates human connections with his past."

2.5 Minute Ride has been extended through May 9 at The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street.

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