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Book Reviews 125 analysis, however, speculations about the extent of public knowledge seem less important than the recognition that few were willing to believe whatever information did filter through. David M. Luebke Bennington College Bearing Witness to the Holocaust 1939-1989, edited by Alan L. Berger. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1991. 355 pp. $79.95. This collection of twenty-one interdisciplinary essays, originally presented at the 19th Annual Scholars Conference on the Holocaust and the Church Struggle in March 1989, focuses on a wide variety of responses to the Holocaust. Alan Berger has organized the essays in five sections, "SurvivorTestimonies," "PhilosophicalResponses," "ReligiousResponses," "Uterary and Artistic Responses," and "The Aftermath," preceded by a useful introduction. The contributions range in strength, quality, and intended audience, but specific essays offer valuable insights to readers interested in the study of survivors, the comparative analysis of genocide, and Christian and Jewish responses to the Holocaust. In "Survivor Tes~imonies," Herbert Hirsch traces the career of Primo Levi, Auschwitz survivor, memoirist, and humanist, who Hirsch claims died of "survivor's disease" from the constant memory of Auschwitz. Emanuel Tanay, a Polish Jewish survivor and psychiatrist, argues that there are important differences among survivors rooted in their modes of survival and that aU have traveled a great distance from the post-war period when survivors were viewed as antiheroes to the contemporary era when they are seen as bearers of moral truth. Tanay insists survival before and after liberation should be seen as "a personal achievement." Nechama Tec, a Polish Jewish survivor and sociologist, reviews her important work on selfless behavior among Christian rescuers in Poland and speculates that similar altruism and cooperation among Jews in the camps aided their chances for survival. In "Philosophical Responses," Robert Melson compares the Holocaust and the Armenian genocide, emphasizing the distinctiveness of the Nazi project rooted in Nazi millenarian racialism and the death camps. Steven T. Katz compares the Nazi murder camps and the Soviet Gulag, also stressing the distinctiveness of the" Holocaust. Absent from Stalin's Gulag, Katz argues, was a specific national policy of mass murder or an intention to target one specific group for mass death. Richard Rubenstein contrib- 126 SHOFAR Spring 1994 Vol. 12, No.3 utes a probing essay exploring the relationship of German philosopher Martin Heidegger to Nazism. He leaves little doubt that Heidegger was a Nazi and an antisemite, despite efforts by Hannah Arendt and others to defend him. In "Religious Responses," Jack Fischel examines the sectarian response by American Mennonites to the Holocaust. Robert Ross discusses the singular lack of concern for Jews, save as objects of evangelism, among American Baptists before or during World War II. Gershon Greenberg tells aspects of the story of the small Lubavitcher Hasidic sect which, safe in Brooklyn, saw the dark time of the Shoah as the birth pangs of the Messiah and Mishna as the key to redemption. Paul Marcus and Alan Rosenberg thoughtfully review the range of religiOUS and anti-religious responses among survivors since the Holocaust. Beverly Asbury studies the work of Polish artist-survivor Gyory Kadar after he was liberated from Buchenwald in "Literary and Artistic Responses ." Susan Lee Pentlin discusses the Warsaw diary of Mary Berg (Wattenberg ), an American teenager who survived the Warsaw ghetto, witnessed the deportations of]ews to Treblinka, and was returned with her family to the United States in a prisoner exchange in early 1944. Berg's diary was published the same year. Rachel Feldhay Brenner explores post-Holocaust poetics in the works of dissimilar Canadian Jewish writers, A. M. Klein and Mordechai Richler. Iwona Irwin-Zarecka discusses the high interest in Polish-Jewish themes in contemporary Poland and explores two recent novels that indicate coexisting tendencies toward reassurance and self- [criticism in Polish literature on the Holocaust. "The Aftermath" includes several essays by Richard Pierard on one Cold War strand of antisemitism in the American Right, by A. Roy Eckardt on the need for Christians to "demythologize" and "deideologize" the Christian tradition, arid by Eugene]. Fische,r-on new teaching about Jews slowly being incorporated within the Catholic Church. Maria Rosenbloom, a Polish-Jewish survivor and social work professor, closes the collection with a meditation...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5165
Print ISSN
0882-8539
Pages
pp. 125-126
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
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