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Never Again

The Holocaust and Political Legacies of Genocide

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 June 2022

Carly Wayne*
Affiliation:
Department of Political Science, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Yuri M. Zhukov
Affiliation:
Department of Political Science, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
*
*Corresponding author. E-mail: carlywayne@wustl.edu
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Abstract

Do individuals previously targeted by genocide become more supportive of other victimized groups? How are these political lessons internalized and passed down across generations? To answer these questions, the authors leverage original survey data collected among Holocaust survivors in the United States and their descendants, Jews with no immediate family connection to the Holocaust, and non-Jewish Americans. They find that historical victimization is associated with increased support for vulnerable out-groups, generating stable political attitudes that endure across generations. Holocaust survivors are most supportive of aiding refugees, followed by descendants, especially those who grew up discussing the Holocaust with their survivor relatives. An embedded experiment demonstrates the steadfastness of these attitudes: unlike non-Jews or Jews without survivor relatives, survivors’ and descendants’ views toward refugees do not change after reading an in-group versus out-group–protective interpretation of the “never again” imperative. Histories of victimization can play an ameliorative role in intergroup relations.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © 2022 Trustees of Princeton University

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