Among “the Greatest Fiction Treatments of Holocaust Survivors Ever Written”: THE PAWNBROKER

Author: Edward Lewis Wallant

October 29, 2015

“Arguably one of the greatest fiction treat­ments of Holocaust survivors ever written, The Pawnbroker was the second of Edward Lewis Wallant’s two novels published in his lifetime. Originally issued in 1961, the book was quickly adapted into “the first stubbornly ‘Jewish’ film about the Holocaust” starring Rod Steiger, Brock Peters, and Morgan Freeman—though Wallant did not live to see its release or wide acclaim. The novel and its adaptation stand alone in their shared shrewd accuracy in the portrayal of posttraumatic stress of Holo­caust survivors ensconced in the suburban households of patchwork families, interrace relations and relationships in Harlem of the late 1950s, and the inescapable stain of evil in which each and every antagonist, hero, victim, and determinedly dispassionate bystander are all complicit.”

Read Nat Bernstein’s full review for the Jewish Book Council/Jewish Book World.