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Journal Article

The Child Victim as Witness to the Holocaust : An American Story?

01 Jan 2007-Jewish Social Studies (Indiana University Press)-Vol. 14, Iss: 1, pp 1-22
TL;DR: This article pointed out that the role of the child victim in the representation of the Holocaust, especially in mainstream American life, can also distort, personalize, and de-historicize the Holocaust.
Abstract: This article points to the key role of the child victim in the representation of the Holocaust, especially in mainstream American life. Developing Peter Novick's claim that the Holocaust has been transformed into an "American memory," the author notes that virtually all breakthrough moments in non-Jewish American awareness of the Holocaust (The Diary of Anne Frank, Wiesel's Night, the NBC television movie Holocaust, Spielberg's Schindler's List, the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. ) have highlighted the role of children, whose defenselessness serves as a metaphor for the general plight of Holocaust victims. While rhetorically effective, the figure of the child victim can also distort, personalize, and dehistoricize the Holocaust, providing a false sense of solidarity and understanding in mainstream American audiences.
Citations
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Book
01 Jan 2001
TL;DR: The authors concludes that the Holocaust industry has become an outright extortion racket and that those who exploit the tragedy of the Holocaust for their own personal political and financial gain can be easily identified and identified.
Abstract: Thoroughly researched, this is a disturbing and powerful argument indicting with rigour and honesty those who exploit the tragedy of the Holocaust for their own personal political and financial gain. It concludes that the Holocaust industry has become an outright extortion racket. The new edition includes updated material discussing the initial reception to the books publication.

133 citations

DOI
01 Jan 2014
TL;DR: In this paper, the state and public and the destiny of synagogues, Jewish cemeteries and Jewish buildings in the Czech lands (Soa years 1945-1956) are discussed.
Abstract: ion from the complex economic and political systems in which they occurred. I consider 74 For example, see Blanka Soukupová “Poměr státu a veřejnosti k osudu synagog, židovských hřbitovů židovský budov v Českýych zemích po šoa (léta 1945-1956) [The state and public and the destiny of synagogues, Jewish cemeteries and Jewish buildings in the Czech lands (Soa years 1945-1956) (trans. in original)], Slovenský národopis, no. 2 (2012): 133-50. For a more nuanced approach that has influenced my own work, see Michael Meng, Shattered Spaces: Encountering Jewish Ruins in Postwar Germany and Poland (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011).

31 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors examined the relation between memory, social media experience, and testimony in the Eva Stories Instagram project by conducting a combined visual and multimodal analysis of the stories.
Abstract: This study examines the relations between memory, social media experience, and testimony in the Eva Stories Instagram project. By conducting a combined visual and multimodal analysis of the stories...

25 citations


Cites background from "The Child Victim as Witness to the ..."

  • ...Constituting a sense of solidarity and symbolizing the loss of innocence, the child victim plays an important role in Holocaust commemoration artifacts (Anderson, 2007)....

    [...]

Dissertation
01 Jan 2015
TL;DR: This paper identified unifying themes across the texts that show how the child's viewpoint offers a distinct perspective on the historical event, depicts an underrepresented experience, and provides the potential for new understandings on the Holocaust.
Abstract: This thesis argues that there is a subgenre within Holocaust literature of survivors writing from the child's perspective. Both the survivor’s novel and children occupy multiple spaces, which provides a unique vantage point from which to represent the Holocaust. There are three key attributes of the primary texts within my subgenre: they are all considered novels, their authors are classified as Holocaust survivors, and they have child protagonists. I have identified unifying themes across the texts that show how the child’s viewpoint offers a distinct perspective on the historical event, depicts an underrepresented experience, and provides the potential for new understandings on the Holocaust. Each chapter focuses on one theme, examining how each author uses the child's perspective across disparate genders, ages, geographical locations, and traumatic experiences, which implies that this subgenre is making critical assertions about the Holocaust and the Jewish child’s experience. Chapter One focuses on the dichotomy between children and adults, examining the interactions between and actions of their child protagonists with adult characters. In this way, authors underscore the end of childhood in extremity, a loss for both children prematurely killed or who must prematurely develop, as well as the loss of traditional functions of adults by inverting concepts of dependents and guardians. The second chapter briefly explores the way the novels use child’s play to highlight the aforementioned changed nature of childhood. Despite often assuming adult responsibilities and attitudes as described in the first chapter, traditional childhood activities can serve to contrast the brutality and hardship with their inherent innocence. Chapter Three explores the novel’s representations of a three-fold identity, which signifies how the protagonists' sense of themselves during the experience is shaped by their positions as an outsider, Jewishness, and gender. The fourth chapter examines how these narratives reconstruct the concept of place, give it meaning, and represent it by creating a Holocaust ‘child-space’ for its youngest experiencers. The child-space is represented by several qualities, including: liminal and paradoxical spaces such as rural and urban settings; specific sites of meaning and concepts of home; belonging to nation states and cities; and the narrative spaces that the authors create. Analyzing these novels through the patterns that develop between different characters and narratives may impact debates about the portrayal of the childhood self in all writing, as well as contribute to discussions of the Holocaust beyond the child’s experience. The fictional child’s viewpoint could address some of the questions that are raised by the ethical concerns about imaginative Holocaust representation and the limits of language, suggesting that it is a form to be considered for thinking about the endurance of Holocaust narratives.

15 citations

References
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Journal Article
TL;DR: Novick as discussed by the authors argues that the Holocaust became more ubiquitous in American cultural and political life after 1968 than it had been in the postwar years, rejecting psychoanalytically informed accounts that explain this lag in terms of "trauma" or "repression."
Abstract: The Holocaust in American Life. By Peter Novick. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1999. Pp. 1, 373. Cloth, $27.00) In this engaging and important study, Peter Novick undertakes two primary tasks: to offer an historical account of how the Holocaust became such a prominent feature of American cultural and political life, and to question the widely held assumption that this prominence is an inherently good thing. In addition to these goals, Novick seeks to debunk the claim that the Holocaust stands apart from other atrocities as a unique purveyor of moral lessons. Indeed, he takes his case one step further by contending that, in the end, the Holocaust may actually offer no moral lessons at all. In tracing the history of the Holocaust in American life, Novick is largely successful. Like other recent scholarship on this themes, Novick argues that, while Americans were not silent about Nazi atrocities during and immediately after the war, the "Holocaust" was not recognized as a discrete historical event until decades later. In contending that the Holocaust became more ubiquitous in American cultural and political life after 1968 than it had been in the postwar years, Novick rejects psychoanalytically informed accounts that explain this lag in terms of "trauma" or "repression." Drawing on a wide range of published and unpublished sources, Novick argues that in the years following World War II, public discussion of the Holocaust was muted because it ran counter not only to the aims of organized American Jewry, but to the broader cultural and political climate of postwar America. The demands of the Cold War and the new alliance between Germany and the United States required that Stalinism, rather than the Holocaust, be cast as the most damning crime of the modern age. Leaders of the American Jewish community promulgated this view and were largely silent about the Holocaust in an attempt to dispel stereotypes that identified Jews with both Bolshevism and eternal victimhood. An excessive public preoccupation with the Holocaust was seen as incompatible with a rapidly assimilating American Jewish community, determined to participate fully in euphoric postwar prosperity. While the destruction of European Jewry was surely a "widely shared Jewish sorrow" during these years, it was, according to Novick, a sorrow shared largely in private. By the mid-1960s, this had begun to change. Novick cites the 1961 trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann and the subsequent publication of Hannah Arendt's controversial Eichmann in Jerusalem as two of the major catalysts for a growing public discussion of the Holocaust. A less obvious claim is that the heightened public preoccupation with the Holocaust in the late 1960s and 1970s coincided with the birth of identity politics, reflecting both a broader shift away from an integrationist ethos to a particularist one, and the growth of a "victim culture" that increasingly valorized oppression and suffering over heroism. While not everyone may agree with Novick's implicitly critical definition of identity politics, this is an important dimension of his argument, for it offers a compelling, if only partial explanation for the ubiquity of the Holocaust in contemporary American life. It was only within a political culture that valorized victimization that the Holocaust could become the locus of so many strong and contradictory feelings, including possessiveness, proprietariness, envy, and resentment. Novick is also interested in how, by the late 1960s, a growing public Holocaust discourse reflected the shifting priorities of organized American Jewry, and here, too, he offers an illuminating account of how Jewish leaders once reticent about the Holocaust were now placing it at the top of their political agendas. In their concern over escalating rates of intermarriage and waning interest in organized Judaism, leaders now seized on the Holocaust in order to shore up a sense of American Jewish identity and to caution American Jews against the dangers of complacency. …

736 citations

Book
01 Jan 1999

680 citations

Book
01 Jan 1995
TL;DR: Weinberg and Weinberg as mentioned in this paper discuss the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and its role in the preservation of Holocaust memory in American culture, and discuss the history of the museum's permanent exhibition.
Abstract: Preface: Violence and American LandscapeAcknowledgementsIntroduction: Locating Holocaust Memory in American Culture Chapter 1:The Decision to Remember Who Owns the Memory? The Politics of Representation: The President's Commission on the Holocaust Who Owns the Memory? The Politics of Representation: The United States Holocaust Memorial CouncilSumary Reflections: The Volatility of Holocaust Memory Chapter 2: The Site of Holocaust MemoryBuilding Holocaust Memory Chapter 3: Embryonic Thoughts: The Commission's MuseumBeginnings: 1980-87The End of the Wiesel Era and BeyondJeshajahu "Shaike" Weinberg and the Changing Nature of the Permanent Exhibition Chapter 4:Interior Space: The Mood of MemoryPersonalizing the Story: Faces and ArtifactsEnduring Issues: Shaping the Boundaries of Memory The Boundaries of Horror The Boundaries of Representation: The Perpetrators The Boundaries of Representation: An Artifact out of Place The Boundaries of Interpretation: Contested Issues and the Voice of the Exhibition The Boundaries of Inclusion: Armenians and GypsiesThe Center and the Periphery of Holocaust MemoryEndings: The Lure of Redemption Conclusion:Mobilizing Holocaust Memory Burdensome Memory Treacherous Memory Murderous Memory Hopeful Memory Notes Index

255 citations

Book
26 Aug 1999
TL;DR: Cole showed us an "Auschwitz-land" where tourists have become the "ultimate ruberneckers" passing by and gazing at someone else's tragedy as mentioned in this paper, and showed us a US Holocaust Museum that provides visitors with a "virtual Holocaust" experience.
Abstract: Cole shows us an "Auschwitz-land" where tourists have become the "ultimate ruberneckers" passing by and gazing at someone else's tragedy. He shows us a US Holocaust Museum that provides visitors with a "virtual Holocaust" experience.

177 citations

Journal Article
TL;DR: The holocaust industry was hailed by the Guardian newspaper in London as "the most controversial book of the year" when it was originally published in 2000 as discussed by the authors, and it is a bestseller throughout Europe, the Middle East and the Americas.
Abstract: A bestseller throughout Europe, the Middle East and the Americas, and already translated into sixteen languages, The holocaust Industry was hailed by the Guardian newspaper in London as "the most controversial book of the year" when it was originally published in 2000. in a devastating postscript for this second paperback edition, Norman G. Finkelstein documents the Holocaust industries scandalous cover-up of the blackmail of Swiss Banks, and in a new appendix demolishes the influential apologia for the Holocaust industry.

172 citations