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German–Israeli relations, 1949–69
Author: Lorena De Vita

The rapprochement between Germany and Israel in the aftermath of the Holocaust is one of the most striking political developments of the twentieth century. German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently referred to it as a ‘miracle’. But how did this ‘miracle’ come about? Drawing upon sources from both sides of the Iron Curtain and of the Arab–Israeli conflict, Lorena De Vita traces the contradictions and dilemmas that shaped the making of German–Israeli relations at the outset of the global Cold War. Israelpolitik offers new insights not only into the history of German–Israeli relations, but also into the Cold War competition between the two German states, as each attempted to strengthen its position in the Middle East and the international arena while struggling with the legacy of the Nazi past.

Marie-Luce Desgrandchamps, Lasse Heerten, Arua Oko Omaka, Kevin O'Sullivan, and Bertrand Taithe

never silenced [ Cesarani and Sundquist, 2011 ] and that the Eichmann trial in 1961 brought it in sharper focus, much of the public awareness took place almost after Biafra rather than before. So could you clarify whether the Biafran conflicts actually did not only rely on stock imagery, but also fuelled a new awareness of the meaning of genocide and of the Holocaust? Lasse: Yes, exactly. At first sight, this argument seems circular, but I think that was

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
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Contextualising reconciliation
Lorena De Vita

continued to take place in third countries throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Also, the GDR did not refrain from reaching out to the Israeli public opinion at crucial junctures, such as the Eichmann trial, to dig the dirt of the Nazi past on the West German state – in the attempt to look good in the eyes of the world while criticising the FRG. Studies on German–Israeli relations in the aftermath of the Holocaust generally focus on the relations that one German state established (or, in the East German case, failed to establish) with the Jewish state with the assent and

in Israelpolitik
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Lorena De Vita

Israeli Communist Party – if we openly came forward about Eichmann’s own crimes and his accomplices in the Bonn government’. 3 This was a markedly determined tone in East German messaging about the continuities between the West German government and the Nazi past and how to denounce them on the global stage. It was the start of a public relations offensive that would recur with great frequency as the Eichmann trial unfolded. Norden’s ideas about how to seize upon the Eichmann trial as a propaganda opportunity came against the backdrop of intense German

in Israelpolitik
War crimes prosecutions and the emergence of Holocaust metanarratives
Tom Lawson

analytical perspectives on the Holocaust reviewed in the first chapter. Indeed Arendt’s Eichmann relied on an extant historiography to which she gave a voice and developed into a 52 Lawson 02_Lawson 08/09/2010 13:36 Page 53 THE EMERGENCE OF HOLCAUST METANARRATIVES universalist explanation of the perpetration of the ‘Final Solution’, which chimed with the post-war perception that the persecution of the Jews had revealed a general crisis in human behaviour. However, approaches to the study and understanding of the Holocaust did change around the time of the Eichmann trial

in Debates on the Holocaust
Hannah Arendt’s Jewish writings
Robert Fine and Philip Spencer

solidarity puts an urgent slant on Arendt's question of whether the ‘final solution’ was understood ‘only’ as a crime against the Jewish people, an extreme episode in ‘the long history of Jew-hatred and anti-Semitism’, or as a crime against humanity, an attack on human diversity as such. 26 One of Arendt's main concerns in her report on the Eichmann trial in 1963 was the prosecution's failure to understand that in the ‘final solution’ humankind in its entirety was

in Antisemitism and the left
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German–Israeli relations between past and future
Lorena De Vita

declassified under the FOIA, and certain federal Foreign Office files, do illustrate the brainstorming, among West German representatives, regarding how to speak of the Nazi past in the early 1960s, as the Eichmann trial approached. Moreover, while East German propaganda continuously stressed the links between Bonn and the Nazi past, West German representatives talked of the ‘National-Bolshevists’ in the East, and of the GDR’s ‘spiritual continuation with Nazism’ when dealing with Israeli interlocutors. 11 Despite important differences between the uses of the Nazi past in

in Israelpolitik
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Robert Gildea and Ismee Tames

support of liberation and the restoration of democracy by the Allies. 16 Another grand narrative, meanwhile, arrived to overlay stories of transnational resistance. From the time of the Eichmann trial in 1961, the Second World War was increasingly seen through the lens of the Holocaust. This highlighted the fate of the Jews as victims of a unique atrocity and marginalised the study of their resistance as heroes.17 This way of understanding both the war and the fate of Jews was popularised in the 1970s and 1980s with media sensations such as the American television

in Fighters across frontiers
Open Access (free)
Machines of mass incineration in fact, fiction, and forensics
Robert Jan van Pelt

perpetrator and a victim, Harry believed that he embodied the whole of the Holocaust in his person. From early April 1961 he had attended the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem as a correspondent for Elseviers magazine, and in his despatches he had developed a theory that Eichmann was the prototype of a new kind of man, a man who is a machine. ‘If I called Eichmann a “medium without hypnosis” earlier, then that is the definition of a machine’, Mulisch had written on 18 June 1961. A machine is a rational tool set up to execute any command whatsoever, without comment.… He

in Destruction and human remains
Joseph Heller

imperialism. Israel answered that history taught that no refugee problem had ever been solved by returning the displaced people to their homes, including White Russians exiled from the Soviet Union after the Bolshevik Revolution. 11 Pravda then attacked Israel’s judicial system, claiming a conspiracy with the German government to stage the Eichmann trial. 12 Israel’s image

in The United States, the Soviet Union and the Arab– Israeli conflict, 1948– 67