Cover

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Title page, copyright page

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c o n t e n t s

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pp. vii-viii

Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

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Introduction

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pp. xi-xviii

On the one hand, to speak about interpretations of the Holocaust may seem a provocation or offensive. Surely, for that event if for any, the facts speak for themselves in the enormity of systematic genocide, leaving nothing over to interpret, nothing to ponder or contest. What could be more explicit, plainer...

Part One In the Matter of Justice

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1 The Nazi as Criminal Inside and Outside the Holocaust

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pp. 3-16

Before discussing what I refer to as Nazi criminality, I feel obliged to raise certain objections to what I have to say about that subject. This means of proceeding may seem out of order, and certainly it makes for an unusual preface....

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2 Forgiveness, Revenge, and the Limits of Holocaust Justice

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pp. 17-31

So much has been said and written about the Holocaust in the more than halfcentury of the Post-Holocaust that it seems odd to call attention to issues that have gone relatively unnoticed—but certain of these are indeed the subject of this chapter. My reason for doing this is the importance, for anyone who looks...

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3 Evil, Suffering, and the Holocaust

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pp. 32-51

The need to account for the appearance of evil in a world assumed to be ruled by goodness and justice provoked Jewish religious and philosophical reflection long before the Holocaust. The “problem” of evil, pointed most sharply in the phenomenon of human suffering and loss, figured in the very origins of Jewish...

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4 Comparative Evil Measuring Numbers, Degrees, People

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pp. 52-60

It is a truth universally acknowledged that some wrongful acts are more wrongful than others. Why is this? That is, why the universal acknowledgment, and (before that) why the “truth” itself ? These are the first questions addressed...

Part Two: Language and Lessons

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5 The Grammar of Antisemitism

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pp. 63-70

The several tongue-twisting “the’s” in my title are less difficult to manage than the problem they conceal. For there is a conceptual, cultural, and, finally, moral issue that bears directly on antisemitism in the common linking of the definite article the and Jews—that is, in the Jews. I do not mean to claim that antisemitism...

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6 The Unspeakable vs. the Testimonial: Holocaust Trauma in Holocaust History

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pp. 71-85

Few more portentous terms could be fitted into the space of this chapter’s title, and the only justification I venture for this is the interconnection among the terms that do appear: History, Trauma, Testimony, and the inclusive issue of Speakability—all of them converging and intertwined in the event of the Holocaust...

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7 Undoing Certain Mischievous Questions about the Holocaust

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pp. 86-99

Certain questions frequently asked about the Holocaust have been, are—quite simply—mischievous. I mean by this that at the same time these questions ask or inquire, they also mislead, distort, cause trouble—and this in a setting that is already so very deeply troubled. The mischief caused in this way will not be...

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8 From the Particular to the Universal, and Forward: Representations and Lessons

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pp. 100-114

When we hear the phrase “representations of the Holocaust,” we think first of artistic representations: novels or films or paintings or even, as Art Spiegelman has demonstrated, comic strips, all of them incorporating events or themes linked to the occurrence of the Holocaust, now almost sixty years in the past....

Part Three: For and Against Interpretation

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9 Oskar Rosenfeld and Historiographic Realism (in Sex, Shit, and Status)

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pp. 117-127

There is nothing startling by now in the claim of a role for style in writing (or reading) history, but most working historians would probably still vote against it, the more so if the claim included Hayden White’s conception of...

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10 Lachrymose without Tears: Misreading the Holocaust in American Life

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pp. 128-136

In 1988, Peter Novick published That Noble Dream: The “Objectivity Question” and the American Historical Profession,1 in which he criticized the sometime ideal among American historians of writing neutral or objective histori

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11 “Not Enough” vs. “Plenty”: Which Did Pius XII?

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pp. 137-144

That Susan Zuccotti and Ronald Rychlak—joining many others—¤nd themselves quarreling about the actions or inactions of Pius XII during the Holocaust does not necessarily mean that they disagree.1 More precisely, it does not mean that they disagree on what they think they are disagreeing about—or...

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12 The Evil in Genocide

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pp. 145-156

A different title that I decided not to use for this chapter would have been more explicit—but also offensive: “What’s so bad about genocide, anyway? ” That wording sounds flippant, and the topic of genocide warrants something more than that. But the flippancy has a serious side to it, since although what is bad

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13 Misinterpretation as the Author’s Responsibility (Nietzsche’s Fascism, for Instance)

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pp. 157-172

The title of this chapter may seem perverse in imposing the two concepts of misinterpretation and responsibility on an author who spent much of his life and work battling against both of them. It seems to me necessary, however, to consider these concepts in order to assess the charges that link—or more point...

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Afterword Philosophy and/of the Holocaust

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pp. 173-182

To inquire about the contributions of philosophy and philosophers to thinking about the Holocaust or, more academically, to Holocaust Studies, is both to ask and to leave a question. The fact is that those contributions have by any measurement...

Notes

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pp. 183-196

Index

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pp. 197-200