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Author: Tom Lawson

This book is about the ways in which the Holocaust has been rendered and represented as History. From court-rooms to history books, efforts to grapple with and award meaning to the genocide of the Jews, in historical terms, have been a consistent feature of post-war intellectual culture and it is these representations that are the subject of the book. The book confronts the first attempts to form historical narratives of the murder of the European Jews per se. It finds a discourse that is as much concerned with the moral politics of judgement in the post-war world as it is with the Shoah. The book also breaks the narrative of the development of the history of the perpetrators. It argues that once it had been created by historians, others began to ask how institutions and individuals external to Nazi-occupied Europe had responded to the Holocaust. Again a divided historiography is uncovered, and again the divisions are as much concerned with what does and does not constitute legitimate historical enquiry as with the issues of responses to the Holocaust themselves. The book further deals with the victims and survivors - who were often excluded from more general Holocaust narratives. An analysis of work on the testimonies of surviving victims finds that debates about how best to use this material are in essence a discourse concerned with the moral possibilities of history-writing.

Ali Rattansi

The Holocaust’s modernity Hannah Arendt was one of the first intellectuals to confront, in 1945, the enormity of what had happened to six million Jews and millions of Roma, Poles and others in what came to be called the Holocaust. In its immediate aftermath she pronounced, with conviction, that ‘The problem of evil will be the fundamental question of postwar intellectual life’ (quoted in Bernstein 1996: 137). And indeed it did occupy her, in one form or another, for the rest of her life. But as Bernstein also points out, ‘most postwar intellectuals avoided any

in Bauman and contemporary sociology
Open Access (free)
Serbian and Croatian victim-centred propaganda and the war in Yugoslavia

Comparing and contrasting propaganda in Serbia and Croatia from 1986 to 1999, this book analyses each group's contemporary interpretations of history and current events. It offers a detailed discussion of Holocaust imagery and the history of victim-centred writing in nationalist theory, including the links between the comparative genocide debate, the so-called Holocaust industry, and Serbian and Croatian nationalism. There is a detailed analysis of Serbian and Croatian propaganda over the Internet, detailing how and why the Internet war was as important as the ground wars in Kosovo, Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina, and a theme-by-theme analysis of Serbian and Croatian propaganda, using contemporary media sources, novels, academic works and journals.

The ruins of memory and Holocaust historiography
Tom Lawson

Lawson 08_Lawson 08/09/2010 13:41 Page 270 8 ‘Holocaust Testimonies’: the ruins of memory and Holocaust historiography According to Lawrence Langer’s Holocaust Testimonies, historywriting has failed the victims and survivors of the Holocaust. They were either forgotten in narratives concerned only with the perpetrators; or worse still they were marginalised by a mode of historiography which attempted to make the fundamentally disrupting stories of survivors safe for the post-war world. In such historiography, victims were turned into either martyrs or heroes

in Debates on the Holocaust
Ben Cohen and Eve Garrard

Kristallnacht and it was one month before Hitler’s famous Reichstag speech of 30 January 1939 in which he ‘prophesied’ the annihilation of European Jewry in the event of a world war. I call Trotsky’s prediction an astonishing fact. For it is a common and wellgrounded theme in the literature of the Holocaust that the disaster was not really predictable. It was outside the range of normal experience and sober political projection or indeed imagination. Even once the tragedy began to unfold, many people found the information on what was being done to the Jews hard to absorb

in The Norman Geras Reader
From universalisation to relativism
David Bruce MacDonald

2441Chapter2 16/10/02 8:03 am Page 39 2 Instrumentalising the Holocaust: from universalisation to relativism For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them: e.g. men becoming builders by building and lyre-players by playing the lyre; so too we become just by just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts. (Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics)1 Where once it was said that the life of Jews would be ‘a light unto nations’ – the bearer of universal lessons – now it is the ‘darkness unto nations’ of the death of

in Balkan holocausts?
Bryan Fanning

4 Ireland and the Holocaust Introduction 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. A number of historians have taken the view that while there was undoubtedly anti-Semitism in Irish society in the era after independence, it was of little consequence. Three arguments from this perspective will be examined. The first of these is that Irish antiSemitism was inconsequential because it was latent and did not

in Racism and social change in the Republic of Ireland
Jean-Marc Dreyfus

From 1945 until around 1960, ceremonies of a new kind took place throughout Europe to commemorate the Holocaust and the deportation of Jews; ashes would be taken from the site of a concentration camp, an extermination camp, or the site of a massacre and sent back to the deportees country of origin (or to Israel). In these countries, commemorative ceremonies were then organised and these ashes (sometimes containing other human remains) placed within a memorial or reburied in a cemetery. These transfers of ashes have, however, received little attention from historical researchers. This article sets out to describe a certain number of them, all differing considerably from one another, before drawing up a typology of this phenomenon and attempting its analysis. It investigates the symbolic function of ashes in the aftermath of the Second World War and argues that these transfers – as well as having a mimetic relationship to transfers of relics – were also instruments of political legitimisation.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Jürgen Habermas and the European left
Robert Fine and Philip Spencer

5 The Jewish question after the Holocaust: Jürgen Habermas and the European left I have, of course, long since abandoned my anti-Zionism, which was based on a confidence in the European labour movement, or, more broadly, in European society and civilisation, which that society and civilisation have not justified. If, instead of arguing against Zionism in the 1920s and 1930s I had urged European

in Antisemitism and the left