Humanities, People, Profiles, Research

Berkeley Voices: How the Holocaust ends

"It's not a prescription, but rather a warning," says Berkeley graduate student Linda Kinstler, author of the 2022 book Come to This Court and Cry. As the last Holocaust survivors are dying, she says, "we are entering a new period of memory."

Read the transcript.

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a person stands next to an image of a book

Linda Kinstler is a Ph.D. candidate at UC Berkeley and author of the 2022 book Come to This Court and Cry: How the Holocaust Ends. (Photo by Pete Kiehart; UC Berkeley design by Neil Freese)

Growing up, Linda Kinstler knew that her Latvian grandfather had mysteriously disappeared after World War II. But she didn’t think much about it.

“That was a very common fate from this part of the world,” says Kinstler, a Ph.D. candidate in rhetoric at UC Berkeley. “It didn’t strike me as totally unusual. It was only later when I began looking into it more that I realized there was probably more to the story.”

What she discovered was too big for her to walk away.

In 2022, she published her first book, Come to This Court and Cry: How the Holocaust Ends. It follows her family’s story in Eastern Europe through the war and its aftermath, and queries all the ways we’ve been told that justice was conducted for those responsible for the genocide of European Jews during the war.

It then moves into the present, and asks: What position do we find ourselves in now? And how can we truly remember the Holocaust — a systematic murder that some are trying to erase — when the last living witnesses are dying? Is this how the Holocaust ends?

“It’s not a prescription, but rather a warning: an effort to call attention to the fact that we are in this moment of endings, where survivors are no longer with us,” she says. “Undeniably, we are entering a new period of memory. … We need to think more seriously about what we do with this memory.”

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