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The twin birth of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Genocide Convention in 1948 have received enormous scholarly attention in recent years. Yet historians have largely ignored how these legal projects intersected with that year’s war in Israel/Palestine. In this article, I push these two stories back into a single frame by examining the year-long efforts of one early human rights organization, the World Jewish Congress, to advance rights-claims on behalf of Middle Eastern Jewish communities imperiled by the regional repercussions of the war. The WJC’s record of activities affords us a direct window into contemporaneous activist understandings of the ties between the Holocaust and the Nakba, human rights and genocide, and international law and politics. More broadly, it reveals the intrinsic limits of early human rights advocacy in an emerging global system exclusively structured around nation states.
Are museums places about a community or for the community? This article addresses this question by bringing into conversation Jewish museums and Indigenous museum theory, with special attention paid to two major institutions: the Jewish Museum Berlin and the National Museum of the American Indian. The JMB’s exhibitions and the controversies surrounding them, I contend, allow us to see the limits of rhetorical sovereignty, namely the ability and right of a community to determine the narrative. The comparison between Indigenous and Jewish museal practices is grounded in the idea of multidirectional memory. Stories of origins in museums, foundational to a community’s self-understanding, are analyzed as expressions of rhetorical sovereignty. The last section expands the discussion to the public sphere by looking at the debates that led to the resignation of Peter Schäfer, the JMB’s former director, following a series of events that were construed as anti-Israeli and hence, so was the argument, anti-Jewish. These claims are based on two narrow conceptions: First, that of the source community that makes a claim for the museum. Second, on the equation of Jewishness with a pro-Israeli stance. Taken together, the presentation of origins and the public debate show the limits of rhetorical sovereignty by exposing the contested dynamics of community claims. Ultimately, I suggest, museums should be seen not only as a site for contestation about communal voice, but as a space for constituting the community.
Transgenerational transmission of trauma (TTT) describes the residual ‘presence of the past’ through generations. This phenomenon has an established evidence base with Holocaust survivors (HS) and their offspring, who are hypothesised to be at a greater risk of psychiatric conditions. This advanced literature review explores the relationship between Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in survivors and mental health conditions (MHC) in survivor’s offspring.
The objective is to review the literature, looking for evidence of TTT and exploring the mechanisms of action of such phenomenon.
An advanced search was performed in three databases; Medline, Ovid PsycInfo and the Yehuda Schwarzbaum Online library using the following search terms; (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder OR PTSD) AND (Holocaust OR Shoah) AND (Offspring OR Children)’. 190 articles were identified and a following 163 were excluded. 26 studies were reviewed.
Parental PTSD is circumstantially influential in parenting and attachment quality. Unfavourable attachments in offspring are associated with psychiatric conditions. Furthermore, poor health behaviour can be transmitted; for example, poor diet is an independent risk factor for depression. Psychopathology may pass intergenerationally; parental PTSD increases the risk of developing PTSD in response to one’s trauma. Parental PTSD can also result in impaired cortisol function and epigenetic changes.
PTSD in HS is an important risk factor for development of MHC in offspring. However, this does not mean all offspring develop MHC. The variability in offspring proneness to psychiatric conditions may reflect specific vulnerabilities. Further research is pertinent for an understanding of TTT. The poster will discuss clinical value.
The COVID-19 pandemic may pose a specific threat for Holocaust survivors, as such threats may be linked with increased psychological distress. Moreover, research has demonstrated that engaging in planful problem-solving activities is associated with reduced distress. Accordingly, we aimed to examine the link between engaging in activities during COVID-19 and psychological distress among Holocaust survivors with varying levels of post-traumatic symptoms (PTS) and comparisons (not directly exposed to the Holocaust).
A cross-sectional design composed of Holocaust survivors and a comparison group.
Participants were interviewed face-to-face, over the telephone, or filled the scales online at their leisure.
Data were collected from 131 older Jewish Israelis (age range 76–94, M = 82.73, SD = 4.09), who were divided into three groups (comparisons; low-PTS survivors; high-PTS survivors).
Participants completed scales assessing PTS, activity engagement, and psychological distress and provided additional sociodemographic, medical, and COVID-19-related information.
When activity engagement was low, high-PTS survivors reported extremely high levels of psychological distress relative to low-PTS survivors and comparisons. However, when activity engagement was high, these group differences were considerably reduced, as the psychological distress of high-PTS survivors was significantly lower.
The study highlights the importance of daily planning and activity engagement for Holocaust survivors with high PTS levels in reducing psychological distress. Clinicians are urged to take this factor into account when dealing with the psychological effects of COVID-19 on survivors and on traumatized older adults in general.
Roth’s fiction is, for the most part, set in America, in the years following World War II. None of his works are directly situated during the Holocaust, but many of his works are gounded in allusions to that tragedy. This chapter will situate a discussion of those allusions within a larger discussion of the problematic ways in which the Holocaust has in large part come to define Jewish identity, a subject taken up by Roth in works like Portnoy’s Complaint and The Ghost Writer. There, Roth pushes back on associations between Jewishnesss and victimization, but also acknowledges the necessity of contending with the Holocaust as an integral part of collective Jewish identity, thus opening up a conversation continued in more recent works like Nathan Englander’s “What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank.”
The publication of Máire Mhac an tSaoi’s Margadh na Saoire in 1956 marked a revolutionary moment in Irish women’s poetry. Mhac an tSaoi came from the elite stock of the new state, and as the daughter of politician Sean McEntee experienced Irish history as very much a family affair. Her childhood experiences of the Kerry Gaeltacht were heavily formative, and her intimacy with folk songs and the dán grá tradition leave a strong influence on her early work. This work stood out strongly for its frank and radical treatment of sex, love, and the female sphere in Irish life. Her writing on themes of motherhood situates itself in the currents of debate over subsequent decades on reproductive rights, and paints a withering portrait of patriarchal control over women’s bodies. Subsequent poems tackle issues ranging from commemorations of the 1916 Rising to the Holocaust, and confirm her as one of the great modern Irish lyric poets.
This chapter addresses two moments in world history: the 1940s, with World War II, decolonization, and the emergence of postcolonial nation-states, and the 1980s, which saw new modes of ethno-nationalism, genocide, the end of the Cold War, and a global reckoning with war trauma. By analyzing two novels that link postcolonial and Asian American literatures – Anita Desai’s Baumgartner’s Bombay and Vikram Seth’s The Golden Gate – I argue that their representation of transnational histories of human and ecological trauma provincializes America, as well as the nation-form. Taken together, these novels depict minority lives that negotiate British imperialism in Asia, the Holocaust, the 1947 Partition of India, World War II, Japanese internment, the Cold War, and ecological destruction. These novels map the lost intimacies of four continents in the middle of the twentieth century. They bear witness, inscribe postmemory, and enact genocidal remembrance – and they do so to provincialize the nation as an imagined community. They reveal its consolidation forged in geopolitical violence, and illuminate the unraveling of human rights for those rendered ethno-racial minorities in the nation.
The epilogue begins in 1929, when multiple, high-magnitude issues affected the Jewish world: the global economic crisis, the establishment of the Jewish Agency, the first glimmers of the danger posed by Hitler, the consolidation of Soviet power in Stalin’s hands, and the outbreak of Arab riots in Palestine. It returns to a comparison between international Jewish humanitarianism with its mainstream counterparts, concluding that the moral calculus for Jews and their unique diasporic network meant that humanitarianism was, in effect, nonexpendable Jewish social policy, fundamentally different from mainstream humanitarianism although in practice, much the same. This leads to a discussion of the longevity of international Jewish humanitarianism, whose blueprint was set in the Great War and survived the twentieth century despite the Holocaust and other seismic changes in Jewish life. It concludes by reflecting on the way in which international Jewish humanitarianism was a mosaic of Jewish projects and organizations across the globe, both paradigmatic and exceptional in history.
In the Second World War years, the long-dreamed-of idea of a politically united Europe finally began to be realized, if only in Western Europe. At the heart of this project for a united Europe was the principle of “unity in diversity,” with the diversity lying in the distinct national cultures across Europe. Chapter 8 focuses first on the various reflections on the idea of a “European spirit” discussed at major international conference in Geneva in 1947, before considering the ways in which the notion of “unity in diversity” served to provide an ideological underpinning for this new Europe. Among the many writers and thinkers discussed in this chapter are T. S. Eliot, Denis de Rougemont, Georg Lukács, Stephen Spender, Georges Bernanos, and Karl Jaspers. The chapter highlights just how challenging it is to break with Eurocentric, Euro-supremacist, and Euro-universalist agendas even when the emphasis is placed on diversity. The case of Oswald Mosley, the leader of the British Fascists in the interwar years, is particularly instructive. As this chapter shows, he was among the most ardent advocates of a united Europe, his arguments having profound implications for any progressive idea of Europe.
Much of the history of the idea of Europe has played out in Western Europe, with the important exception of Russia in the nineteenth century. However, in the twentieth century, there were a number of influential reflections on the idea of Europe in both Central and Eastern Europe, notably by writers and thinkers including Czesław Miłosz, Milan Kundera, and Julia Kristeva. Chapter 9 focuses on these reflections from Central and Eastern Europe, as well as the complex view of Europe from Turkey, particularly through the work of the pro-European Turkish writer Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar and the Nobel Prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk, as well as those from former European colonies in North Africa and South America, with key figures in this regard including the violently anti-European Frantz Fanon as well as the philosopher Jacques Derrida and the writer Jorge Luis Borges. This chapter considers some of the ways in which the traditional center/periphery conception of Europe might be rethought, while also revealing the extent to which Eurocentric and Euro-supremacist assumptions are far from being limited to the Western European discourse on the idea of Europe. It also reflects on the abiding idea of Europe as essential a Christian culture.
The introduction to A Battlefield of Memory provides the reader with an understanding of the societal importance of the foundational pasts under review while highlighting existing trends of denial. Readers are also familiarized with polls conducted among Palestinians and Israeli-Jews on attitudes toward the other’s foundational trauma and failed reconciliatory attempts, which shed light on the materialization of mnemonic delegitimization efforts. Interviews conducted with the Israeli-Jewish and Palestinian individuals responsible for these initiatives demonstrate that they have, ironically, been accused of the same perfidious conduct, namely “selling out to the enemy.” The introduction further provides a synopsis of scholarly approaches to collective memory theory and the key research methodologies that have been applied in the collection of primary source material. It is in this particular context that the reader is informed of important caveats that should be taken into account during the reading of this work. One such provision concerns this work’s simultaneous deliberation of the Holocaust and the Nakba, which does not mean equating them or promulgating a causal linkage. Such a conflation would not only be historically – and ethically – erroneous, but equally fail to recognize the divergence in historical culpability. Nevertheless, as this work illustrates, a more relational linkage does exist: as dominant national metanarratives, the Holocaust and the Nakba have bolstered exclusive identities within the two groups, both centering on unique claims of ongoing victimhood and loss and a consequential devaluation – if not denial – of the other’s catastrophe
Chapter 3 examines the development of the first Palestinian curriculum in the aftermath of the establishment of the first Palestinian Ministry of Education in 1994. A close reading of Palestinian educational plans’ content and the elucidation provided by officials reveals that the incorporation of the 1948 War and its catastrophic effects on Palestinian society – highlighted in the continual usage of the term al-Nakba – were considered crucial to furthering national identification and a historical consciousness among Palestinians. Nevertheless, this chapter reveals that the conservative educational outlooks favored by the Palestinian Ministry of Education coupled with the influence of Israeli lobbying efforts led to the production of educational content that lacks an in-depth historical analysis of the 1948 War and the mass displacement that ensued. Notwithstanding the existence of a tepid Nakba narrative, the latter part of this chapter illustrates that the Nakba’s societal significance can be found in the overt and intentional omission of the Holocaust in the Palestinian curriculum. Reactionary educational policies in the domestic sphere are deemed a materialization of Zygmunt Bauman’s victimhood politicization – a quid pro quo, which, as a result of Israeli educational and societal treatment of the Nakba, brings about a retributive omission of “their narrative.”
The conclusion provides a comprehensive overview of the mnemonic plasticity and the societal usages of exclusionary in the two case studies under review. The conclusion emphasizes the different political frameworks that have driven the rise and perpetuation of the exclusionary narratives in Israeli-Jewish and Palestinian society within the mnemonic realms reviewed while also highlighting the context-specific manifestations of the ensuing denial practices. Although this work does not propose a method of fusing the two foundational narratives or suggest ways in which the identified exclusionary narratives can be challenged and modified, the conclusion does set forth the practical and theoretical applications of this work, both in the Israeli-Palestinian arena and beyond. In addition to offering a practical applicability to non-regional scholarship and cross-cultural initiatives, it is the intent of this work to provide fertile ground for future scholarship on Israeli-Jewish and Palestinian mnemonic discourse in an effort to challenge the idealization of the past’s invocation and, instead, expose its neurasthenic and disabling effects in “service of the nation.” Concluding remarks to A Battlefield of Memory thus also address existing scholarly voids and potential future application of this work as a result of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian crisis.
The Textbook of Memory, the first of three parts that make up this work, examines the state educational systems in the post-Oslo era in Israeli-Jewish and Palestinian society. In contravention with the stipulations of 1993 Declaration of Principles, which declared that Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) should foster mutual understanding and tolerance, Part I reveals the existence of incompatible narratives in Israeli and Palestinian textbooks based on a negation or minimization of the other’s seminal history. Beyond examining the presentation of the other’s historical narrative in the Israeli and Palestinian curricula, the two chapters that make up Part I emphasize the exclusive and ethnocentric presentation of both societies’ own foundational history. Through an analysis of the presentation of the in-group’s own history and (the existence of) the out-group’s historical narrative, Part I of this study identifies the ways in which schooling contributes to – and justifies – the continuance of conflict narratives. By outlining the existing content pertaining to the 1948 War and the Holocaust in Israeli and Palestinian textbooks, the chapters’ dual analyses illuminate the mechanisms that remain hidden from those socialized and indoctrinated by these narratives.
Chapter 2’s analysis of fifteen textbooks published since 1993 for Israeli middle and high-school students demonstrates that an exclusive presentation of the Holocaust in the curriculum has relied on the explicit portrayal of the Holocaust as a uniquely Jewish tragedy with universal relevance to the entire Jewish nation and, therefore, pertinent to every Israeli-Jewish youth. Simultaneously, the overt minimization of other groups’ suffering as a result of Nazi genocidal policies is deemphasized through the conveyance of anachronistic historical information and the usage of numerical aggregation practices. The chapter’s identified Zionist metanarrative lays the foundations for further exclusionary manifestations, namely the minimization of Palestinians’ fate in the 1948 War. Textbooks that illustrate a teleological movement from the center(s) of Jewish destruction, “there” in the galut (Hebrew: exile), to revival “here” in Israel, advocate a post-Holocaust justification for the Zionist enterprise and, consequently, necessitate an untainted recovery from the preceding crisis. By differentiating between Zionist, Zionist-critical, and revisionist narratives of the war, the chapter’s secondary analysis illustrates that while new historiographical writings on the 1948 War have emerged, the beneficial and practical effects of the mass Palestinian exodus are stressed in textbooks. In line with this narrative, a systematic policy of expulsion is firmly cast aside and, instead, overt reminders of traditional Zionist historiography formulating a miraculous rebirth remain.
The Holocaust and the Nakba are foundational traumas in Israeli-Jewish and Palestinian societies and form key parts of each respective collective identity. This book offers a parallel analysis of the transmission of these foundational pasts in Israeli-Jewish and Palestinian societies by exploring how the Holocaust and the Nakba have been narrated since the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords. The work exposes the existence and perpetuation of ethnocentric victimhood narratives that serve as the theoretical foundations for an ensuing minimization – or even denial – of the other's past. Three established realms of societal memory transmission provide the analytical framework for this study: official state education, commemorative acts, and mass mediation. Through this analysis, the work demonstrates the interrelated nature of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict and the contextualization of the primary historical events, while also highlighting the universal malleability of mnemonic practices.
During the late 1970s, US policymakers attempted to resume formal relations with China and Vietnam, respond to the Indochinese diaspora, and institutionalize human rights into US foreign policy. These efforts all became deeply enmeshed. Although attempts to normalize relations with Hanoi failed, they cast a long shadow. Thereafter, US policymakers demanded a withdrawal of Vietnamese troops from Cambodia and a “full accounting” of missing American servicemen were before Washington and Hanoi could resume official talks. These conditions tabled formal negotiations for nearly a decade.
Human rights and humanitarianism became increasingly entangled in this fluid environment. US policymakers described the Indochinese diaspora as both a human rights and humanitarian concern and implemented the Refugee Act of 1980, which codified a human rights definition of refugee with a humanitarian exception clause. The advocacy of the Citizens Commission on Indochinese Refugees (CCIR), select congressmen, and growing Holocaust awareness helped solidify these connections in American thought and law. Nonexecutive actors also created significant momentum for expanded admission opportunities for Indochinese refugees. Because the White House remained preoccupied with other issues, the information, pressure, and publicity the CCIR and its governmental allies garnered were instrumental to creating a broad base of support for refugee admissions.
The Holocaust poses a challenge to creative writers: can and should horrific events be used as the subject matter for literature? In the early post-war years French novelists were often reticent about giving direct, fictional portrayals of the Holocaust. Some developed experimental approaches which questioned and tested the limits of literary representation, crossing boundaries between truth and invention, testimony and fiction. Throughout these works there is a sense that the Holocaust both must and cannot be represented, that the memory must be kept alive even if the subject resists the capabilities of literary fiction. Despite the passing of time, there is no sign that the Holocaust is fading from the French literary scene. On the contrary, Jonathan Littell’s controversial novel Les Bienveillantes (2006) and a host of other recent publications suggest that it continues to fascinate and challenge French novelists.
The North American and Israeli scholars who founded Genocide Studies in the 1980s and 1990s also insisted on genocide’s Holocaust archetype. These scholars successfully resisted the “conceptual stretching” of genocide to include political criteria in its definition. Domestically, they advocated an apolitical “toleration” pedagogy as genocide’s antidote. The US victory in the Cold War in the early 1990s sidelined the lively critique of the US national security state and gave rise to a new age of interventions. Vietnam-induced doubts were left behind as “the indispensable nation” became the world’s hyper-power. Although the founders of Comparative Genocide Studies were liberals who opposed the Vietnam War, they eagerly adopted the role of academic handmaiden to US global aspirations: the field anointed the US as the benign force to police the non-West in the form of humanitarian interventions to prevent genocide, other “atrocity crimes,” and to wage “war on terror.”
To understand how and why Germans imagined the most radical vision of illiberal permanent security, this chapter suggests that the “political imaginary” offers historians a fruitful way to integrate human agency with historical processes. It shows how an imperialist political imaginary functioned in sections of the German political class between the 1890s and 1930s. Then it examines how Adolf Hitler utilized this imaginary for his own purposes: his raiding of the imperial archive to construct permanent security for Germans. Fearing Germany’s destruction due to its catastrophic territorial and biopolitical losses after the First World War, he concluded that exploitation and genocide had attended European imperial expansion over the centuries. Jews figured as the ultimate enemy in his and Nazi thinking. We will also see that, as a project of imperial conquest, the Nazi empire entailed a consciously radical combination of imperial conquest and settler colonialism.