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Vol. 10, No. 4 Summer 1992 FOCUS ON CONFERENCES 75 Conferences, one of the mainstays of university and intellectual life, have the power to concentrate our attention 6n important events, dates, and phenomena. As a journal committed to interpreting the Jewish experience, particularly in heuristic and pedagogic terms, Shofar welcomes relatively brief reports from selected conferences. The three items in this section deal with the Holocaust. They vary in style, audience, and locus of attention-but each makes a specific commitment to combining memory and understanding with the intent of learning from history, so that fu'ture genocides may be thwarted. BERLIN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE: "ADDRESSING THE CYCLE OF PAIN" A landmark meeting between Jews and Christians from America, Germany, and Israel, and representatives from the German Sinti and Roma and Turkish communities, cook place November 7-10,1991, in Berlin. This date marked the 53rd anniversary of Kristallnacht and the second anniversary of the reunion of East and West Germany. About 200 people attended the conferen~e, which was organized by Phil' Blazer, radio and TV personality in Los Angeles and publisher of International jewish News. Among them were Judaic scholar Jacob Neusner (University of Southern Florida), Pierre Sauvage (whose film on I.e Chambon, "Weapons of the Spirit," was shown at the Conference), Mel Mermelstein (anti-" historical revisionism" activist), Beate Klarsfeld (the German Nazi hunter who apprehended war criminal Klaus Barbie), and Franklin H. Littell (President of the Philadelphia Institute on the Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights). The agenda included discussion of the various forms of antisemitism and how the lessons from the Holocaust might show Jews and non-Jews how to prevent future genocide. Conference participants joined thousands in the Berlin Kristallnacht rally for human rights, highlighting the tension between, as Franklin H. Littell has described it, "losing the uniqueness and specificity of the Shoah in some vague and moralistic generalization about every kind of intolerance , bigotry, racism, persecution and genocide," on the one hand, and on the other hand stressing the suffering of Jews to the extent of desensi- 76 SHOFAR tizing the jewish community to the suffering of others-making "Never again!" mean really "Never again for us!" The Berlin Kristallnacht Conference both sympathized with the feelings of survivors and paid heed to the warning of the biblical prophets that society cannot endure without justice. The preliminary remarks of "Addressing the Cycle of Pain" were given by Conference Coordinator Zev Garber, Professor ofJewish Studies at Los Angeles Valley College and Visiting Professor in Religion at the University of California at Riverside. His address appears on the following pages. Gastgeschenk: Panim B'Fanim by Zev Garber I. Fashionable though it is these days to invoke the Bitberg spirit of "storycide" among revisionist historians and Third World liberation theologians, workers in the cemetery of the Shoah testify to the· stubborn persistence of the Shoah to "the past that weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living," as French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre once described history. It is the "deadly weight" of the Shoah-the horrific tradition of slate-sponsored victimization and murder, and the unaccountable human, spiritual, and material loss that follow in its smoke-that has aroused many to discuss antisemitism, past, present, and future. Also it is the reason why a number of us came to Berlin on the eve of Kristallnacht to "address the cycle of pain": in order to learn how the lessons learned from the Shoah might help prevent future genocide. The purpose of the Berlin encounter between concerned Jews, Christians, and Germans is threefold: first, we will explore the underpinnings of German thought and action, then and now, that are related to Jewish pain, suffering, and the Shoah; second, we will work at an agenda, consideringJewish dignity and self-respect and imploring German accountability and responsibility, in the fight against Shoah revisionism and worldwide antisemitism; and finally, we wiII study the atrocities of the Shoah not only to preserve their historicity but also to see signs of warning Vol. 10, No. -1 Surnrner 1992 77 to prevent the atrocities from ever happening again to any people, at any time, in any place. II. Go back with me in time, in...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5165
Print ISSN
0882-8539
Pages
pp. 75-80
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
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