Marie-Luce Desgrandchamps, Lasse Heerten, Arua Oko Omaka, Kevin O'Sullivan, and Bertrand Taithe
never silenced [ Cesarani
and Sundquist, 2011 ] and that the Eichmanntrial 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
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.
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 Eichmanntrial, 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
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 Eichmanntrial unfolded.
Norden’s ideas about how to seize upon the Eichmanntrial as a propaganda opportunity came against the backdrop of intense German
War crimes prosecutions and the emergence of Holocaust metanarratives
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
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 Eichmanntrial
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
Eichmanntrial in 1963 was the prosecution's failure to understand that in the
‘final solution’ humankind in its entirety was
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 Eichmanntrial 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
This work demonstrates that resistance to occupation by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy during the Second World War has to be seen through a transnational, not a national, lens. It explores how people often resisted outside their country of origin because they were migrants, refugees or exiles who were already on the move. It traces their trajectories and encounters with other resisters and explores their experiences, including changes of beliefs, practices and identities. The book is a powerful, subtle and thought-provoking alternative to works on the Second World War that focus on single countries or on grand strategy. It is a ‘bottom up’ story of extraordinary individuals and groups who resisted oppression from Spain to the Soviet Union and the Balkans. It challenges the standard chronology of the war, beginning with the formation of the International Brigades in Spain and following through to the onset of the Cold War and the foundation of the state of Israel. This is a collective project by a team of international historians led by Robert Gildea, author of Fighters in the Shadows: A New History of the French Resistance (Faber & Faber, 2015). These have explored archives across Europe, the USA, Russia and Israel in order to unearth scores of fascinating individual stories which are woven together into themed chapters and a powerful new interpretation. The book is aimed at undergraduates and graduates working on twentieth-century Europe and the Second World War or interested in the possibilities of transnational history.
Dinaw Mengestu’s The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears (2007) and Teju Cole’s Open City (2011)
reading her account of the Adolf Eichmanntrial in Jerusalem and her misgivings about its manipulation for Israeli national politics, Scholem accused Arendt of having ‘no love for the Jewish people’. 52 ‘How right you are that I have no such love’, she replied, ‘I have never in my life “loved” some nation or collective […] The fact is that I love only my friends.’ 53 In Men in Dark Times (1968) , she pays tribute to her recently deceased friend Waldemar Gurian as ‘a man of many friends […] Friendship was what made him feel at home in this world and he felt at home
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 Eichmanntrial 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