The process of looking back on the Holocaust is one of a double nature: it can bring both enlightenment and a paralyzing pain, particularly for its survivors. This volume addresses the process of looking back, the challenges to understanding of unimaginable horrors that took place, and how academia, media, popular attitudes, and even judicial mind-sets handle that process.
A collection of nineteen essays, this book is organized into four sections: the first focuses on how various fields of study can open new perspectives on the Holocaust and sharpen old ones; the second examines culture and politics in Germany before and after 1933; the third addresses the problems associated with the memorialization of those years; and the final section examines the shocking denials of the Holocaust.
In authoritative, nonpolemical essays on some of the latest and most contentious issues surrounding the Holocaust, the contributors to this volume revisit some topics central to Holocaust studies, such as the stance of the papacy and the concern about the uses to which the meaning of the Holocaust has been put, while expanding research into less-examined areas such as propriety, sexuality, and proximity.
Variously concerned with issues of guilt and victimization, the essays examine individuals like Pius XII and Romano Guardini and the institutions of organized religion as well as the roles of the Jewish Councils and the retributive judicial proceedings in Hungary. They reveal that victimization within the Holocaust experience is surprisingly open-ended, with Jewish women doubly victimized by their gender; postwar Germans viewing themselves as the epoch's greatest victims; Poles, whether Jewish or not, victimized beyond others because of their proximity to the epicenter of the Holocaust; and German university students corrupted by ideological inculcation and racist propaganda.
Though offering no "positive lessons" or comforting assurances, these essays add to the ongoing examination of Holocaust consequences and offer insightful analyses of facets previously minimized or neglected. Together they illustrate that matters of gender, sexuality, and proximity are crucial for shaping perceptions of a Holocaust reality that will always remain elusive.
How can one link the Holocaust and justice, given the enormity of the Holocaust? Is justice even possible for a crime of such magnitude, and if so, what kind of justice? Weighing these questions and their implications, a group of distinguished scholars attempts to untangle the complex and often contradictory conjunction of the Holocaust and justice.
Seeking a historical context, the contributors ask, What were the political, social, psychological, and ideological prerequisites for this tragedy? Considering the courts and trials both during and immediately after World War II, and recent cases against aging perpetrators, the contributors examine the legal circumstances for trying to provide justice, the dimming impact of passing time, and other issues that complicate litigation. Their inquiry extends to questions about memory--how it is shaped and reshaped and whether it can be reliable--and about the re-creation of events of the Holocaust by a second generation. Does reassembling the evidence through the lenses of a later generation provide a deeper understanding, and does this understanding include a sense of justice accomplished?
In the courtroom and the classroom, in popular media, public policy, and scholarly pursuits, the Holocaust-its origins, its nature, and its implications-remains very much a matter of interest, debate, and controversy. Arriving at a time when a new generation must come to terms with the legacy of the Holocaust or forever lose the benefit of its historical, social, and moral lessons, this volume offers a richly varied, deeply informed perspective on the practice, interpretation, and direction of Holocaust research now and in the future. In their essays the authors-an international group including eminent senior scholars as well those who represent the future of the field-set the agenda for Holocaust studies in the coming years, even as they give readers the means for understanding today's news and views of the Holocaust, whether in court cases involving victims and perpetrators; international, national, and corporate developments; or fictional, documentary, and historical accounts.
Several of the essays-such as one on nonarmed "amidah" or resistance and others on the role of gender in the behavior of perpetrators and victims-provide innovative and potentially significant interpretive frameworks for the field of Holocaust studies. Others; for instance, the rounding up of Jews in Italy, Nazi food policy in Eastern Europe, and Nazi anti-Jewish scholarship, emphasize the importance of new sources for reconstructing the historical record. Still others, including essays on the 1964 Frankfurt trial of Auschwitz guards and on the response of the Catholic Church to the question of German guilt, bring a new depth and sophistication to highly charged, sharply politicized topics. Together these essays will inform the future of the Holocaust in scholarly research and in popular understanding.
Primo Levi opened his memoir Survival in Auschwitz with a call to remember, reflect upon, and teach about the Holocaust—or to face the rejection of subsequent generations. The transmittal of this urgent knowledge between generations was the theme of the eighth Lessons and Legacies Conference on the Holocaust, and it is the focus of this volume. The circular formulation—from generation to generation—points backward and forward: where do we locate the roots of the Holocaust, and how do its repercussions manifest themselves? The contributors address these questions from various perspectives—history, cultural studies, psychiatry, literature, and sociology. They also bring to bear the personal aspect of associated issues such as continuity and rupture. What has the generation of the Shoah passed on to its descendants? What have subsequent generations taken from these legacies? Contributions by scholars, some of whom are survivors and children of survivors, remind us that the Holocaust does—and must—remain present from generation to generation.
“Expanding Perspectives on the Holocaust in a Changing World” was the theme of the eleventh Lessons and Legacies Conference on the Holocaust. The eighteen essays published here, which sprung from the conference, reflect questions that Holocaust scholars are asking in the face of shifting political, economic, social, and disciplinary contexts. These questions are addressed from various perspectives including Jewish studies, history, cultural studies (film and memory), literary studies, legal studies, and geography. The book opens with the contentious issues raised in the keynote addresses of Omer Bartov and Timothy Snyder, which highlight the fact that the Holocaust, a once untold history, is now a central component of a wide-ranging scholarship not limited to German history.