Abstract

The often-unspoken idea that the Holocaust was a unique event has become a key feature of American Jewish identity. As a result, universalizing the Holocaust is a complicated matter for those who feel Jewish "ownership" of the event must remain paramount. This essay explores the Holocaust as part of American history and its implications for contemporary American Jewish identity from three vantage points: the institutionalization of the Holocaust as part of American history and as a Jewish "event" in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., the Holocaust as seen through the lens of various recent readings of The Diary of Anne Frank, and the image of the Holocaust in American popular culture. Through these three lenses I suggest that the Holocaust will remain an important source of identity, but in order for it to do so, it must become a broader and more complex model for Jewish survival and for Jewish flourishing in an increasingly globalized world.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2028
Print ISSN
0021-6704
Pages
pp. 100-135
Launched on MUSE
2013-03-14
Open Access
No
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