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The Past That Does Not Pass: Israelis and Holocaust Memory

Dalia Ofer
Israel Studies
Vol. 14, No. 1, Israelis and the Holocaust: Scars Cry out for Healing (Spring, 2009), pp. 1-35
Published by: Indiana University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30245842
Page Count: 35
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The Past That Does Not Pass: Israelis and Holocaust Memory
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Abstract

The article raises issues that relate to the centrality of the Holocaust in the lives and imagination of many Israelis, and as a pivotal event that shapes their Jewish-Israeli identity. It examines the positions held by Israelis on the meaning of the Holocaust and the shaping of its memory, and asks whether the presence of the Holocaust in our lives represents an honest, unwavering effort to understand the Holocaust and its place in our world as human beings, Jews, and Israelis, or is a result of manipulating forces that use and abuse the memory of the Holocaust to advance unrelated political or social causes. The article presents a profusion of voices in Holocaust discourse and asks whether these are complementary or conflicting messages. It discusses the groups for whom the Holocaust was a personal experience, their offspring, who experienced the Holocaust as a family memory, and others whose memory of the Holocaust was shaped by survivors' testimonies, social processes, and the internalization of cultural messages. It focuses on the contribution of these groups in Holocaust research and artistic representation centering on literature, film, and music.

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