Holocaust and Genocide Studies 17.2 (2003) 370-372
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Remembering for the Future: The Holocaust in an Age of Genocides, John K. Roth, Elisabeth Maxwell, Margot Levy, and Wendy Whitworth, eds. (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2001), 3 vols., lxviii + 2856 pp., $375.00.
As an attendee of the survivors' gathering and "Remembering for the Future III" conference in Oxford and London in July 2000, I can only applaud the editors for their Herculean labors in seeing through to publication the more than two hundred papers that constitute this three-volume set. Equally, I commend Palgrave for their commitment to this enormous project. This collection will serve as a fitting tribute to those who [End Page 370] survived the Holocaust. As editor and conference convener Elisabeth Maxwell noted early during the planning stage, this international gathering will, in all likelihood, be the last where survivors and scholars can meet, teach, and learn from each other.
It is no accident that this work is divided into three categories: "History," "Ethics and Religion," and "Memory." The foundation for all Holocaust-related research is the historical data itself: the participants—perpetrators, victims, bystanders, and rescuers; the locations where the events took place—cities, villages, towns, ghettos, and concentration and death camps; the mechanisms by which the events transpired—civil, bureaucratic, military, scientific, and the like. All of these serve to remind us that, in the words of Primo Levi, "it happened, therefore it can happen again: this is the core of what we have to say" (p. xxxvii, vol. I).
Sixty-four papers make up volume I and are categorized as follows: Opening Addresses, Genocide, Ghettos and Camps, Destruction and Resistance, Perpetrators, and Denial. After the opening contributions of luminaries such as Martin Gilbert, Elie Wiesel, Eberhard Jäckel, and Samuel Pisar, the volume places issues of genocide in a comparative context, an approach that significantly positions the Shoah not only in the historical context of 1933-45, but in the contemporary moment as well.
In the section on ghettos and camps, Elena Makarova and Sergei Makarov's "University over an Abyss: The Story Behind the Theresienstadt Lectures" (pp. 258-78) stands out as yet another fruitful direction in research: revisiting and documenting the victims' intellectual life, which continued amidst the worst of conditions. Tim Cole's work on the Budapest Archives (pp. 198-210) and Shlomo Aronson's attention to "New Archival Sources" (pp. 371-88) remind us that collectively we have not yet exhausted the available material.
"Denial" (pp. 769-925), the final section of the first volume, is a reminder of the continuing obligation on the part of those who value sound scholarship that, in a politically charged contemporary world of hate-politics, evidentiary truth is the best defense against those who would parade their lies before the unsuspecting and unknowing. Prior to the conference, Emory University professor Deborah Lipstadt and her publisher, Penguin Books, successfully withstood the courtroom challenge of Holocaust-denier David Irving. Her "Perspectives from a British Courtroom: My Struggle with Deception, Lies, and David Irving" (pp. 769-72) coupled with Christopher Browning's "Historians and Holocaust Denial in the Courtroom" (pp. 773-78) illustrate that battles continue to be fought and won outside the university classroom by those who claim to pursue objective knowledge.
Volume II builds upon volume I and presents sixty-seven papers in the following categories: Plenary Addresses, Ethical Choices, Rescue, the Catholic Church, the Protestant Churches, Post-Holocaust Theology, and the Search for Justice. Of particular note in this volume is the section on the controversies surrounding the wartime behavior of Pope Pius XII (pp. 381-532). The ethics section (pp. 19-216) is equally significant in reminding readers that the Holocaust was an evil perpetrated by individuals [End Page 371] who made conscious choices to participate even as they lived side by side with rescuerswho made opposite choices. Philosopher Leonard Grob's paper, "Post-Holocaust Ethics: The Morality of the Use of Power" (pp. 114-22), is right on the mark in addressing the core issue that...