Liat Steir-Livny, Ph.D.

Senior Lecturer. Holocaust Studies, Film Studies & Cultural Studies  


Shattered Encounters: From My Father's House (1947) to My Father's House (2008)

Liat Steir-Livny 2017

Pivot: A Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies and Thought

In the aftermath of World War II, approximately 500,000 Holocaust survivors immigrated to pre-state and post-1948 Israel. The complex experiences of this shattered group and their encounters with Israeli society were reduced to a series of superficial representations in Israeli fiction films. In films produced both in pre-state Israel and in the early decades of the fledgling state, Holocaust survivors were depicted as traumatized individuals healed by the veteran Jews and transformed into active, strong, healthy civilians in the new land. By the late 1970s, however, Israeli society had changed, as did the cinematic representation of the encounter between native Israelis and Holocaust survivors. Films from that era onwards represent the survivors as neglected by veteran Israelis and relegated to the margins of society. This article will analyze the profound change that took place between these earlier and later cinematic depictions through the lenses of two films that tell the same story - but from completely different perspectives: Beit Avi [My Father's House], directed by Herbert Kline in 1947, and Beit Avi [Homeland], directed by Dani Rosenberg in 2008. While sharing the same Hebrew title, these films were produced in different eras and thus shed light on vastly different depictions of similar encounters.

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Israeli culture, Holocaust commemoration, Holocaust remembrance, Holocaust representations, collective memory, 1948 war, Israel-Arab conflict, Nakba, Israeli cinema, Holocaust survivors, Holocaust.


Steir-Livny, Liat. "Shattered Encounters: From My Father's House (1947) to My Father's House (2008)". Pivot: A Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies and Thought. Vol 6. No1, 2017, pp. 29-51.

© 2014 Liat Steir-Livny. Designed by Boaz Albert