By Sander L. Gilman (auth.)
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Additional info for Jewish Frontiers: Essays on Bodies, Histories, and Identities
In the ﬁlm, Lina is not actually fooled by Jacob’s claim about the nonexistent radio. She looks behind the wall to see whether or not the radio is there. There she sees Jacob acting out all the parts, even humming the parts of the orchestra. And yet, in her knowledge her innocence is preserved. The ﬁnal sequence in the movie picks up on the theme 52 JEWISH FRONTIERS of the fairy tale told on Jacob’s radio—the tale of the sick princess who asks to have a cloud in order to get well. In the cattle car on her way to the camp, Lina asks whether the story of the princess is true, whether one can be cured by cotton batting.
20 Turner, who used the idea of the frontier to deﬁne his understanding of America, would not have recognized the notion of the frontier today. 21 Yet this new regionalism is precisely the type of focus that a new Jewish history needs as it would take the various Diasporas seriously on their own merit. 22 It is in this light that the frontier becomes a useful concept replacing the ﬁnite and contested notion of the boundary. This process of recognition, however, can have negative as well as positive ramiﬁcations, as we become aware of the complexity of the interactions possible at the new frontier.
The laughter of the child (and the audience) at the fairy tale reveals to the audience that her laughter had been built on a false premise of knowing. The image of the blue sky and the ﬂoating clouds seen from the cattle car in which she and Jacob are being transported to the death camps is the movie’s ﬁnal image. In the ﬁlm, Lina is not actually fooled by Jacob’s claim about the nonexistent radio. She looks behind the wall to see whether or not the radio is there. There she sees Jacob acting out all the parts, even humming the parts of the orchestra.