No matter what, nobody can take away the dances you’ve already had.
~Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Maus II continues the holocaust survival story of Art Spiegelman’s father, Vladek. In this second book, we learn of Vladek and his wife Anja’s struggles in order to survive in the two deadliest concentration camps ran by the Nazis and their lives after. It also shows the impact of these terrible experiences to Vladek, who now is an old man and how this affected Art’s life negatively at the same time. However, this also gave Art a purpose, to write a book about his father’s distressing and heartbreaking story.
I must say that Maus I was a rough read already but Maus II is rougher. Brutal. Heart-wrenching. Vladek related the stories inside the camps, death and torture and how tough and disheartening it makes someone to be there. It’s fascinating to read how Vladek tried his best to survive and help others while inside the camps, at the same time making sure that Anja is keeping well. One of the things that really hit me hard here was when Vladek and Anja learned of each other still alive. They got separated in the camps but knowing, just knowing, that the other is alive brought to me too much emotions. It was kinda difficult getting rid of the heaviness I felt then. It’s just too hard to imagine how difficult it was then for the victims of the holocaust and the war as a whole.
As is with Maus I, the illustrations in Maus II were equally extraordinary, terrifying, very personal and essential. The characters were again portrayed as animals. Very powerful. The storytelling style was as beautiful as the first volume.
It’s hard to put into words how I loved both books so much so I urge you to read it, only then will you understand.
“No matter what I accomplish, it doesn’t seem like much compared to surviving Auschwitz.”
” I feel so inadequate trying to reconstruct a reality that was worse than my darkest dreams.”
“People haven’t changed … Maybe they need a newer, bigger Holocaust.”