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Spiegelman, the author, is a baby-boomer, and both his parents were in Nazi concentration camps. Unfortunately, his mother committed suicide before he had a chance to interview her. We never do find out really why she killed herself, though there are hints that Vladek (Art's father) was too hard on her (psychologically) or that she felt intolerable guilt about the death of her first son as a young boy. This was the author's brother, Richieu. It seems he also died at the hands of the Nazis, though it is not entirely clear that he died this way.
The author did interview his father toward the end of his father's life. And what a story he came up with. A true survivor's tale of what he saw and endured at Auschwitz, while his wife, the author's mother, was most of the time in a separate concentration camp.
Art has cameo appearances by himself, with his wife, and interviewing his father, throughout the story. He visits weekly an old friend of his father's, also a survivor of the camps. The old friend tells him that perhaps he feels some guilt about what his parents had to go through. We all feel guilt, he continues, and the guilt may not end for several generations more.
A lot has changed since those times, but this graphic novel gives a good idea of what transpired in these concentration camps, at least from Vladek's viewpoint. What occurs to me is how cheap Jewish life was considered in those days, and probably not only in those days.
The moral: Yet what was done to the Jews is done to all of us, Jewish or not. The outcome is that all life is cheapened. We may have today enough food, shelter, clothing, and luxuries undreamed of then, but life is still a ghetto, because man hates himself and projects it onto others. Or something like that. Women are different, thank goodness. Unfortunately, they seem to be growing more like men, the wrong direction, I would estimate.
This book will definitely make you think.