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During the 1990s and early 2000s in Europe, more than fifty historical commissions were created to confront, discuss, and document the genocide of the Holocaust and to address some of its unresolved injustices.Amending the Past offers the first in-depth account of these commissions, examining the complexities of reckoning with past atrocities and large-scale human rights violations. Alexander Karn analyzes more than a dozen Holocaust commissions-in Germany, Switzerland, France, Poland, Austria, Latvia, Lithuania, and elsewhere- in a comparative framework, situating each in the context of past and present politics, to evaluate their potential for promoting justice and their capacity for bringing the perspectives of rival groups more closely together. Karn also evaluates the media coverage these commissions received and probes their public reception from multiple angles. Arguing that historical commissions have been underused as a tool for conflict management, Karn develops a program for historical mediation and moral reparation that can deepen democratic commitment and strengthen human rights in both transitional regimes and existing liberal states.
The recognized cultural historian and researcher of the Middle Ages relates about the gruesome year of 1944 in Hungary, as she has seen the events with the eyes of a small Jewish girl. The memoir describes life in Budapest and in Komarom, in the Hungarian countryside, in the preceding years before March 1944 when the German army marched in, and what happened thereafter. "It is not true that you can no longer write anything new about the Holocaust. All you need is an excellent memory, restraint, irony hidden among the lines, and know-how. The bulk of Marianna D. Birnbaum's book is about her relatives, her childhood friends and their parents who have not returned. She attached photos of several of them; here and there the author too appears as a small child. Well-to-do adults, nicely dressed children: They ought to have lived out their days in peace. With a vision pointing toward the grotesque and using experience honed on literary criticism, the author avoids provoking our tears. That makes this book beautiful and true." (G. Spiro)
Until recently, historians believed America gave asylum only to key Nazi scientists after World War II, along with some less famous perpetrators who managed to sneak in and who eventually were exposed by Nazi hunters. But the truth is much worse, and has been covered up for decades: the CIA and FBI brought thousands of perpetrators to America as possible assets against their new Cold War enemies. When the Justice Department finally investigated and learned the truth, the results were classified and buried. Using the dramatic story of one former perpetrator who settled in New Jersey, conned the CIA into hiring him, and begged for the agency's support when his wartime identity emerged, Eric Lichtblau tells the full, shocking story of how America became a refuge for hundreds of postwar Nazis.
Seventy years ago, on April 29, 1945, the forward battalions of Rainbow Division, 42nd Infantry, were moving swiftly toward Munich. Confident and optimistic, they had survived four months of costly and bitter combat, and soon, it would all be over. But then the road led to Dachau and the worst day of the war. In their collected memoirs, the Rainbow soldiers, almost half of whom were only eighteen, nineteen, or twenty years old, tell how they were confronted suddenly-without preparation, without warning-by horrors beyond human imagination. This book is by and about the American liberators, who have since discovered that no one who was involved in any capacity can ever be truly free of the past that was Dachau. In the most complete eyewitness account ever available, editor Sam Dann, himself a Rainbow soldier, weaves their stories together with official reports, other documents, and the reminiscences of several survivors.
The evocation of memory is wrought with emotional and historical significance in this distinctive Holocaust memoir. With lyrical prose and remarkable candor, Helena Ganor narrates her story through a series of recently penned letters to the significant people in her life during her wartime girlhood: her sister, mother, father, and stepmother. Both Ganor's mother and sister perished during the Holocaust. The author's letters reveal much about living in pre-war Lvov, Poland, and its surrounding area. Her descriptions of relationships between local Jews, Poles, Ukrainians, and Gypsies in southeastern Poland lend a broad historical context to the Holocaust. Ganor combines deeply personal reminiscences of struggling as a Jewish child cast out alone to survive under Nazi occupation with reflections on the varied ways that humans respond to impending catastrophe. Punctuating her letters with poems, Ganor's story is an inspiring contribution to Holocaust literature.
Berlin 1941. Marie Jalowicz Simon, a nineteen-year-old Jewish woman, makes an extraordinary decision. All around her, Jews are being rounded up for deportation, forced labour and extermination. Marie takes off the yellow star and vanishes into the city. In the years that follow, Marie lives under an assumed identity, moving between almost twenty different safe houses. She is forced to accept shelter wherever she can find it, and many of those she stays with expect services in return. She stays with foreign workers, committed communists and even convinced Nazis. Any false move might lead to arrest. Always on the move, never certain who could be trusted and how far, it is her quick-witted determination and the most amazing and hair-raising strokes of luck that ensure her survival. This is Marie's extraordinary story, told in her own voice with unflinching honesty after more than fifty years of silence.
A new afterword to this edition, "The Duty to Remember But What?" tackles difficult issues of guilt and innocence on the individual and societal levels. Zygmunt Bauman explores the silences found in debates about the Holocaust, and asks what the historical facts of the Holocaust tell us about the hidden capacities of present-day life. He finds great danger in such phenomena as the seductiveness of martyrdom; going to extremes in the name of safety; the insidious effects of tragic memory; and efficient, "scientific" implementation of the death penalty. Bauman writes, "Once the problem of the guilt of the Holocaust perpetrators has been by and large settled . . . the one big remaining question is the innocence of all the rest not the least the innocence of ourselves."Among the conditions that made the mass extermination of the Holocaust possible, according to Bauman, the most decisive factor was modernity itself. Bauman's provocative interpretation counters the tendency to reduce the Holocaust to an episode in Jewish history, or to one that cannot be repeated in the West precisely because of the progressive triumph of modern civilization. He demonstrates, rather, that we must understand the events of the Holocaust as deeply rooted in the very nature of modern society and in the central categories of modern social thought."
In 1978, Jakub Slucki passed away peacefully in his sleep at the age of seventy-seven. A Holocaust survivor whose first wife and two sons had been murdered at the Nazi death camp in Chelmno, Poland, Jakub had lived a turbulent life. Just over thirty-seven years later, his son Charles died of a heart attack. David Slucki's Sing This at My Funeral: A Memoir of Fathers and Sons tells the story of his father and his grandfather, and the grave legacy that they each passed on to him. This is a story about the Holocaust and its aftermath, about absence and the scars that never heal, and about fathers and sons and what it means to raise young men. In Sing This at My Funeral, tragedy follows the Slucki family across the globe: from Jakub's early childhood in Warsaw, where he witnessed the death of his parents during World War I, to the loss of his family by the hand of the Nazis in April 1942 to his remarriage and relocation in Paris, where after years of bereavement he welcomes the birth of his third son before finally settling in Melbourne, Australia in 1950 in an attempt to get as far away from the ravages of war-torn Europe as he could. Charles (Shmulik in Yiddish) was named both after Jakub's eldest son and his slain grandfather-a burden he carried through his life, which was one otherwise marked by optimism and adventure. The ghosts of these relatives were a constant in the Slucki home, a small cottage that became the lifeblood of a small community of Jewish immigrants. despite having been shaped by the ghosts of his father's constantly hovering sorrow. This book interweaves the stories of these men with that of Slucki's own upbringing, showing how traumatic family histories leave their mark for generations. Slucki's memoir blends the scholarly and literary, grounding the story of his grandfather and father in the broader context of the twentieth century. Based on thirty years of letters from Jakub to his brother Mendel, on archival materials, and on interviews with family members, this is a unique story and an innovative approach to writing both history and family narrative. Students, scholars, and general readers of memoirs will enjoy this deeply personal reflection on family and grief.
This hilarious novel follows the Posner family--two Holocaust survivors and their young son--doing everything they can to avoid one another in Miami in 1972, the site of the Republican and Democratic political conventions, the rise of the counterculture, the Cold War, the desegregation of the old South. This is also the Miami of Gleason, Sinatra, Lansky, and I.B.Singer.
Two works of autobiography. If This is a Man tells of Levi's experiences as a victim of the Holocaust, from his arrest by the Fascists in 1943 to the liberation of Auschwitz by the Russians. The Truce is the story of his eight-month journey back to Italy after he was liberated.
'With the moral stamina and intellectual pose of a twentieth-century Titan, this slightly built, duitful, unassuming chemist set out systematically to remember the German hell on earth, steadfastly to think it through, and then to render it comprehensible in lucid, unpretentious prose. He was profoundly in touch with the minutest workings of the most endearing human events and with the most contempible. What has survived in Levi's writing isn't just his memory of the unbearable, but also, in THE PERIODIC TABLE and THE WRENCH, his delight in what made the world exquisite to him. He was himself a magically endearing man, the most delicately forceful enchanter I've ever known'
The death of Primo Levi robs Italy of one of its finest writers ... One of the few survivors of the Holocaust to speak of his experiences with a gentle voice'
A memoir by an award-winning author in its first English translation. When World War II erupted in Europe, Konrad Charmatz was a prospering businessman in Sosnowiec, Poland, a loving son, and an aspiring poet. For the next seven years he witnessed the Holocaust as it destroyed his family, his country, and his culture. In this astonishing story of suffering and survival, he gives his own personal account of the Warsaw ghetto, the death chambers at Auschwitz, the transport trains, the slave labor camps of Dachau, and the liberation. And from the perspective of the renowned journalist he later became, he also describes how the Holocaust was carried out, not only at the level of governments and their armies, but at the level of the individuals who took its orders. Few people survived the Holocaust from such close range or for so long, and few remembered it with the eye of a practiced journalist.
In the early years of World War II, thousands of political refugees traveled from France to Vichy-controlled Martinique in the French Caribbean, en route to what they hoped would be safer shores in North, Central, and South America. While awaiting transfer from the colony, the exiles formed influential ties-with one another and with local black dissidents. Escape from Vichy recounts this flight from the refugees' perspectives, using novels, unpublished diaries, archives, memoirs, artwork, and other materials to explore the unlikely encounters that fueled an anti-fascist artistic and intellectual movement. The refugees included Spanish Republicans, anti-Nazi Germans and Austrians, anti-fascist Italians, Jews from across Europe, and others fleeing violence and repression. They were met with hostility by the Vichy government and rejection by the nations where they hoped to settle. Martinique, however, provided a site propitious for creative ferment, where the revolutionary Victor Serge conversed with the anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss, and the Surrealist Andre Breton met Negritude thinkers Rene Menil and Aime and Suzanne Cesaire. As Eric T. Jennings shows, these interactions gave rise to a rich current of thought celebrating blackness and rejecting racism. What began as expulsion became a kind of rescue, cut short by Washington's fears that wolves might be posing in sheep's clothing.
The Holocaust is often invoked as a benchmark for talking about human rights abuses from slavery and apartheid to colonialism, ethnic cleansing, and genocide. Western educators and politicians draw seemingly obvious lessons of tolerance and anti-racism from the Nazi past, and their work rests on the implicit assumption that Holocaust education and commemoration will expose the dangers of prejudice and promote peaceful coexistence. Holocaust Memory and Racism in the Postwar World, edited by Shirli Gilbert and Avril Alba, challenges the notion that there is an unproblematic connection between Holocaust memory and the discourse of anti-racism. Through diverse case studies, this volume historicizes how the Holocaust has shaped engagement with racism from the 1940s until the present, demonstrating that contemporary assumptions are neither obvious nor inevitable. Holocaust Memory and Racism in the Postwar World is divided into four sections. The first section focuses on encounters between Nazism and racism during and immediately after World War II, demonstrating not only that racist discourses and politics persisted in the postwar period, but also, perhaps more importantly, that few people identified links with Nazi racism. The second section explores Jewish motivations for participating in anti-racist activism, and the varying memories of the Holocaust that informed their work. The third section historicizes the manifold ways in which the Holocaust has been conceptualized in literary settings, exploring efforts to connect the Holocaust and racism in geographically, culturally, and temporally diverse settings. The final section brings the volume into the present, focusing on contemporary political causes for which the Holocaust provides a benchmark for racial equality and justice. Together, the contributions delineate the complex history of Holocaust memory, recognize its contingency, and provide a foundation from which to evaluate its moral legitimacy and political and social effectiveness. Holocaust Memory and Racism in the Postwar World is intended for students and scholars of Holocaust and genocide studies, professionals working in museums and heritage organizations, and anyone interested in building on their knowledge of the Holocaust and the discourse of racism.
Naomi Kramer and Ronald Headland approach the universal issues that inevitably arise in discussing the Holocaust - evil, courage, human dignity, moral responsibility and the existential qualities of humankind - through individual experience. Consisting of two main parts, the book explores one individual's experience during the Shoah and the historical context in which these experiences occurred. It includes a comprehensive historical summary of the Shoah and represents a succinct synopsis of existing secondary literature and primary sources. A bibliography and extensive glossary of terms relating to both Jewish life and the Shoah are included.
In a study that compares the major attempts at genocide in world
history, Robert Melson creates a sophisticated framework that links
genocide to revolution and war. He focuses on the plights of Jews
after the fall of Imperial Germany and of Armenians after the fall
of the Ottoman as well as attempted genocides in the Soviet Union
and Cambodia. He argues that genocide often is the end result of a
complex process that starts when revolutionaries smash an old
regime and, in its wake, try to construct a society that is pure
according to ideological standards.
From her secret hiding place in wartime Amsterdam, the Jewish teenager Anne Frank wrote heart-wrenchingly about the terrors of a captivity that would ultimately end with her death at the hands of the Nazis. In her world-famous diaries, she described with remarkable honesty her transition from childhood to a deep thinking, opinionated and passionate teenager. The life she longed to live, during which she would help to create a more caring world, was tragically not to be. In August 1944, she and her family were captured and deported to Auschwitz. Two years after her death from starvation and disease in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, her diary was published. It quickly became an international sensation, going on to influence hearts and minds for over seventy years. Although many books and literary analyses have been written about Anne Frank's life and diary, none have explored the surprising influence she has had on young people in countries all over the world, helping to shape their moral framework and giving them critical life skills. This is due in part to the merits of a travelling exhibition created by the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam in 1985 which has so far been seen by over 9 million people. The Anne Frank exhibition, along with its innovative educational and cultural activities, has circumnavigated the globe many times. In this fascinating study, Gillian Walnes Perry explores the various legacies of Anne Frank's influence. She looks at the complex life of Anne Frank's father and the motivations that powered his educational philosophy. She shares new insights into the real Anne Frank, personally gifted by those who actually knew her. Global icons such as Nelson Mandela and Audrey Hepburn relate the influence that Anne Frank had on shaping their own lives. This book presents - all in one place and for the very first time - the inspirational stories of a diverse variety of people from all over the world, brought together by the words of one particularly articulate and inspiring teenage victim of the Holocaust.
Primo Levi's account of life as a concentration camp prisoner falls into two parts. IF THIS IS A MAN describes his deportation to Poland and the twenty months he spend working in Auschwitz. THE TRUCE covers his long journey to Italy at the end of the war through Russia and Central Europe. Levi never raises his voice, complains or attributes blame. By telling his story quietly, objectively and in plain language he renders both the horror and the hope of the situation with absolute clarity. Probing the themes which preoccupy all his writing - work love, power, the nature of things, what it is to be human - he leaves the reader drained, elated, apprehensive.
The holocaust will remain a stain on the history of mankind in perpetuity, long after the recollection of many of the perpetrators has faded. Some names will remain, however, indelibly printed in the records and the memories of future generations. Adolf Hitler's political protestations against certain sections of twentieth-century European society developed into national policy once he achieved his grip on power. His vision of a Europe free of these `undesirables' almost became a reality. In Heinrich Himmler, he had a loyal servant, only too willing to sell his soul to the Devil to please his master. Himmler's SS organisation was the ideal tool to execute Hitler's plans, and what better administrator than the intelligent and obedient ex-naval officer who directed the Reich security police? From an early age, Reinhard Heydrich was determined to succeed at every challenge he encountered. An ambitious sportsman, a loving family man, and a ruthless executive, Heydrich possessed all the qualities necessary to carry out Hitler's policy in Himmler's name. This book illustrates the life of the architect of genocide, his background, his upbringing, his family, and his career, which developed into engineering one of the greatest crimes in history.
In this rich and riveting narrative, a writer's search for the truth behind his family's tragic past in World War II becomes a remarkably original epic--part memoir, part reportage, part mystery, and part scholarly detective work--that brilliantly explores the nature of time and memory, family and history.
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