Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Foreword

Theodore Zev Weiss

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pp. ix-x

The Holocaust educational foundation was established in 1980, dedicated to preserving awareness of the reality of the Holocaust. The foundation's chosen means to this end are (1) to videotape the testimony of survivors and (2) to encourage the study of the Holocaust at colleges and universities. ...

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Introduction

Peter Hayes

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pp. 1-10

Before, while, and after it happened, the Nazi onslaught against the Jews of Europe literally defied human comprehension. Indeed, the sheer incredibility of the Holocaust did much to make it possible, drive it forward, and provoke both the denial and fascination that it continues to arouse. ...

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Opening Remarks: The Discovery of the Holocaust

Raul Hilberg

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pp. 11-20

The Holocaust is a fundamental event in history—not only because one-third of the Jewish people in the world died in the space of four years, not only because of the manner in which they were killed, but because, in the last analysis, it is inexplicable. All our assumptions about the world and its progress prior to the years when this event burst forth have been upset. ...

I. Themes

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pp. 21-22

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The “Final Solution”: On the Unease in Historical Interpretation

Saul Friedländer

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pp. 23-35

"The past carries with it a temporal index by which it is referred to redemption," writes Walter Benjamin in the second of his "Theses on the Philosophy of History." "There is a secret agreement between past generations and the present one.... Like every generation that preceded us, we have been endowed with a weak messianic power, a power to which the past has a claim. ...

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Holocaust and Genocide: Some Comparisons

Yehuda Bauer

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pp. 36-46

Was the holocaust unique? If so, in what sense? Is it comparable to other genocidal mass murders in the twentieth century? This series of questions has been discussed ad infinitum et ad nauseam by historians, philosophers, and theologians. Why go over a scarred battleground once again? ...

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Ideology, State Power, and Mass Murder/Genocide

Steven T. Katz

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pp. 47-89

Recent historical research has increasingly emphasized nonideological elements in the unfolding, in the actuality, of historical events. This new approach is especially evident and intensive in the dispute between so-called intentionalists and functionalists over the nature of the Sho 'ah, ...

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The History of Evil and the Future of the Holocaust

Berel Lang

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pp. 90-105

Since efforts are still needed to describe for the present the events of the Nazi genocide against the Jews, it may seem premature and even offensive to ask about the future of those events—as if they might later be seen or assessed quite differently (perhaps more benignly) than they are now. ...

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The Use and Misuse of the Holocaust

Michael R. Marrus

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pp. 106-119

About a decade ago, Jewish scholars and writers began to worry in print about the burgeoning interest in the Holocaust, and posed troubling questions about how the Jewish tragedy was becoming part of North American popular culture. These critics brooded upon the new interest in the Holocaust in literature and film that emerged, remarkably, during the 1970s. ...

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After the Catastrophe: Aspects of Contemporary Jewry

David Vital

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pp. 120-138

It is necessary for me to begin by making clear what I will not attempt to deal with in the remarks that follow. I do not intend to refer to the actual machinery mounted by the German state for the destruction of the Jewish people; to the policy which that machinery was intended to implement; or to the ideological, sociological, or pathological sources from which that policy sprang. ...

II. Deeds

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pp. 139-140

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The Reaction of the German Population to the Anti-Jewish Persecution and the Holocaust

Hans Mommsen

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pp. 141-154

The persecution of the Jews during the Third Reich reached a climax in the almost unimaginable slaughter of five million European Jews by the Einsatzgruppen, in the annihilation camps, and as a consequence of brutal treatment in ghettos, concentration camps, and many other places.1 ...

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Genocide and Eugenics: The Language of Power

Claudia Koonz

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pp. 155-177

"How does it happen that people become things?" The question haunts both memory and scholarship about National Socialist genocide against the Jews during World War II.1 When we focus mainly on concentration camps, deportations, Sonderkommando, and mechanized mass murder, the question defies an answer. ...

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“A Monstrous Uneasiness”: Citizen Participation and Persecution of the Jews in Nazi Germany

Robert Gellately

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pp. 178-195

The Nazi dictatorship created in the months after Hitler's appointment as chancellor on January 30, 1933, allowed German citizens little scope for participation in the formal politics normally associated with democracies. For the most part the political lives of Germans consisted of membership in Nazi, or Nazified, organizations, ...

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One Day in Jozefow: Initiation to Mass Murder

Christopher R. Browning

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pp. 196-209

In mid-March of 1942, some 75 to 80 percent of all victims of the Holocaust were still alive, while some 20 to 25 percent had already perished. A mere eleven months later, in mid-February 1943, the situation was exactly the reverse. Some 75 to 80 percent of all Holocaust victims were already dead, and a mere 20 to 25 percent still clung to a precarious existence. ...

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Helping Behavior and Rescue During the Holocaust

Nechama Tec

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pp. 210-224

In a destructive environment, expressions of compassion, caring, self-sacrifice, and help are rare. Nevertheless, it is also true that under conditions of extreme suffering, cooperation and mutual aid are indispensable for survival. ...

III. Encounters

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pp. 225-226

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Redefining Heroic Behavior: The Impromptu Self and the Holocaust Experience

Lawrence Langer

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pp. 227-242

"The disaster ruins everything," Maurice Blanchot begins his paradoxical commentary on The Writing of the Disaster, "all the while leaving everything intact." This is the contradiction we still wrestle with nearly half a century after the event. The foundations of moral behavior remain in place, as the goal if not the reality of decent societies; ...

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Popularization and Memory: The Case of Anne Frank

Alvin H. Rosenfeld

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pp. 243-278

It has been estimated that, among the almost six million Jews who fell victim to the Nazis during World War II, at least one million and perhaps as many as 1.5 million were children. Yad Vashem in Jerusalem and other research institutions elsewhere have many of their names on record. ...

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Israel’s Memorial Landscape: Sho’ah, Heroism, and National Redemption

James E. Young

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pp. 279-304

Like any state, Israel remembers the past according to its national myths and ideals, its current political needs. Unlike that of other states, however, Israel's overarching national ideology and religion-perhaps its greatest "natural resource"—may be memory itself: memory preserved, restored, and codified. ...

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Early Warning: Detecting Potentially Genocidal Movements

Franklin H. Littell

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pp. 305-315

After "forty years in the wilderness," thinking people are beginning to talk about the lessons of the Holocaust. At first there was silence. Then the story began to be told-in the differing idioms: the heart-stopping incident of theater, the emotion-shaping evocation of poetry and music, the hunt and capture of brute facts by the historians. ...

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Tellers and Listeners: The Impact of Holocaust Narratives

Holocaust Educational Foundation Volunteers

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pp. 316-328

In the early part of 1983, a project was started in Chicago whose aim was to establish a repository of audiovisual testimonials of Holocaust survivors. The founder of the project, Zev Weiss, an educator and himself a survivor (deported from Hungary to Auschwitz in 1944), believed that the time had come to make a concerted effort to transmit what we know about the Holocaust ...

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Closing Remarks

Geoffrey H. Hartman

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pp. 329-336

What every conference needs is a naif or ingenu: someone for whom everything is new, everything resonates. Now most speakers here are historians, and I must say to start with that I am still very much a learner, that every time historians explode a myth or correct a factual error my heart leaps up. ...

Notes on the Contributors

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pp. 337-340

Notes

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pp. 341-374