Maus is not only a book that talks about power and warfare but throughout the book, you can see the connections made to the theme "Family" as well.
Art Spiegelman, the author of the book Maus, was born in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1948, and his parents are "Vladek" and "Anja". Władysław is Vladek's correctly pronounced Polish name, and Władek was a diminutive form of his name. He was also known as Wilhelm under the Germans, but moving to the U.S. he took the name William. Anja's real name is Andzia Zylberberg, and she took the name Anna immigrating to the U.S. In the book Maus, the names of the two were spelled "Vladek" and "Anja", to make the names easier to pronounce.1 They are both Polish jews who survived from the Holocaust, yet although they have survived, the family relations have also been affected by the emotional traumas and unresolved feelings about the Holocaust which cause conflicts within the family.
Giving a few example of the conflicts caused because of the experiences of the Holocaust, during the Holocaust, people needed a slip of paper to show that they are working for the Nazis. It was hard to get a proper job and making money meant risking their lives. Therefore, Vladek had to keep a habit of saving up everything he could for the future, explaining why the novel contains so many scenes showing Vladek being somewhat overly attached to saving money.
As for Art's mom, Anja, committed suicide on March, 1968 leaving no note. Anja's death greatly affected both Vladek and Art. The short comic strip “Prisoner on Hell Planet,” which was introduced in Maus is also about Anja's death. However, Art even accused her of a murder, "because of her suffocating love which seemed to be coming from her unresolved feelings about motherhood,"2due to Richieu's death. Rysio, or "Richieu", was Arts brother who died even before Art was born,3at about the age of five or six. After the war had ended, the Spiegelmans, searched various orphanages in Europe hoping that Richieu had not died, but failed to find him. Richieu's death was also a tragedy, yet Vladek and Anja's deep love for him which continued even after his death made Art feel like having a sort of rivalry with his "ghost brother" who "never threw tantrums or got in any kind of trouble".4
The experiences regarding to the Holocaust made conflicts between Art and his parents, since there must have been countless actions that Art could not understand in his point of view. Nevertheless, listening to the stories told by Holocaust survivor himself, his dad, helped him understand his parents better and through the graphic novel Maus, that was published on December 20, 1980, more people are now able to understand the lives of the jewish people at that time.
2 Spiegelman, AZ. "Anja (Zylberberg) Spiegelman in Maus: A ... - Shmoop." 2011. <http://www.shmoop.com/maus/anja-spiegelman-character.html>
4 Hirsch, Marianne (2011). "Mourning and Postmemory". In Chaney, Michael A. Graphic Subjects: Critical Essays on Autobiography and Graphic Novels. University of Wisconsin Press. pp. 17–44. ISBN 978-0-299-25104-8. Retrieved 2012-06-21.
Maus Jewish People. Digital image. Key Note Blog. Hot Key Books, 27 Feb. 2012. Web. 31 Aug. 2014. <http://www.hotkeyblog.com/maus/>.
Flat Social Media Icons. Digital image. Vandelay Design. Vandelay Design, 8 Aug. 2014. Web. 31 Aug. 2014. <http://vandelaydesign.com/free-social-media-icons/>.
Prisoner of Hell Planet. Digital image. English 110 Blog Translation. Nick Napoleatano, 19 Mar. 2013. Web. 31 Aug. 2014.