Ireland and the Holocaust
in Racism and social change in the Republic of Ireland
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This chapter considers anti-Semitism in Irish society from independence in 1922 until the 1950s with a specific focus upon Ireland's response to Jewish refugees before, during and after the Holocaust. Bauman argues that the Holocaust was the consequence of bureaucratic and rational characteristics of modern western societies whereby modernity became a precondition for the expression of a particular genocidal form of racism. The chapter argues that the mainstream politics of post-independence Ireland never embraced anti-Semitism, because of the absence of a perceived 'Jewish problem' in Irish society. Twentieth century expressions of anti-Semitism in Ireland constructed the Jews as enemies of the Church and enemies of the nation; though perhaps here the distinction was a subtle and unnecessary one within the context of a hegemonically Catholic nation state. The anti-Semitism which found expression in Irish immigration practices from the 1930s to the 1950s was similarly grounded in prevalent racialisations and stereotypes.


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