The Uses and Abuses of Knowledge: Proceedings of the 23rd Annual Scholars' Conference on the Holocaust and the German Church Struggle; March 7-9, 1993, Tulsa, Oklahoma (review)
- Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies
- Purdue University Press
- Volume 17, Number 4, Summer 1999
- pp. 132-134
- Additional Information
132 SHOFAR Summer 1999 Vol. 17, No.4 Bob Moore's book makes a useful and essential English-language companion to other national studies of the Shoah and the various representations of the Anne Frank story. It is more in the scholarly tradition ofHilberg and Browning than Goldhagen; this will please some readers, not others. The bibliography, glossary, and chronology of persecution will assist all students of this topic. Moore helps us better understand the seeming paradox of Dutch tolerance and the low Jewish survival rate by reminding us of the importance of social questions and the continued painful saga of Jewish emancipation and assimilation in modem Europe, what the French scholar Pierre VidalNaquet terms "the Jewish laceration that lies at the heart of the history of Europe."I Peter Hoffenberg History Department University of Hawaii The Uses and Abuses of Knowledge: Proceedings of the 23rd Annual Scholars' Conference on the Holocaust and the German Church Struggle; March 7-9,1993, Tulsa, Oklahoma, edited by Henry F. Knight and Marcia Sachs Littell. Studies in the Shoah, Vol. XVII. Lanham, MD: University Press ofAmerica, 1997. 456 pp. $64.50. This volume reproduces about half of the papers presented at a conference six years ago. This long time interval has some unfortunate consequences, as the situations dealt with in some areas discussed, such as the former Yugoslavia, have significantly changed. Both the varieties of the usually fairly short papers and their quality indicate that this must have been an exciting conference. Yet these very qualities create some problems when the papers are published in a book. The attempts by the editors to impose a structure on the book have met with only limited success. The papers on the establishment of the Holocaust Museum make clear how significant the Carter administration's efforts to heal its rift with the Jewish community were; they also focus on the divergence of views between Carter's, who wanted a memorial to all ofthe Nazi victims-gypsies, Poles, Russians, etc. as well as Jews-and those who thought to define the Holocaust as the Nazi attempt to kill Jews. At least two writers deal with the genocide in Yugoslavia. Richard Rubenstein reaches the conclusion that "the Holocaust constitutes the beginning, not the end, of an era in which state and communally-sponsored programs of population elimination are a tempting option for communities aspiring to religious or ethnic homogeneity.... Such IPierre Vidal-Naquet, The Privilege afLiberty, translated and edited by David Ames Curtis (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995), p. 81. Book Reviews 133 policies do not constitute a regression to more 'primitive' or irrational modes of human interaction. On the contrary they can best be understood as the result of the inability of contemporary societies to cope with the destabilizing consequences of their modernizing transformations" (p. 341). The events which have taken place since 1993 have not provided evidence which would refute his hypothesis. The range of topics represented is wide. Several papers deal with religious and church topics-including one on the relationship of the church to the Stasi during the existence ofthe DDR. I found John T. Pawlikowski's succinct discussion of the Vatican and the Holocaust with its critical review of the major studies valuable. Carol Rittner, who, together with John Roth had previously edited a collection of women's accounts during the Holocaust,2 in her essay in this volume focuses on the distinguishing nature of women's experiences. The organizing principle for this is, in the words of Joan Ringelheim, "same hell, different horrors." The legitimacy· of bringing feminist perspectives to the study of the Holocaust has been raised, most recently by Gabriel Schoenfield, one of the senior editors of Commentary; this issue promises to become a significant future controversy. Stephen C. Feinstein's examination of some not generally known artistic responses to the Warsaw Ghetto would have been helped if it had been possible to include some reproductions. The question of the comparability of the Holocaust to other genocides has figured prominently in recent controversies. It is not a significant theme in this work. However, the connection between Auschwitz and Hiroshima, between the Holocaust and the use ofnuclear weapons occupies several...