Commentary Magazine


The Americanization of the Holocaust

Although it is far from clear that he actually coined it, the writer Elie Wiesel had a prominent role in popularizing “Holocaust” as the term of choice to designate the Nazi assault against the Jews. In Wiesel’s usage and, following him, in that of countless others, the word “Holocaust” points to the sufferings and intended genocide of European Jewry at the hands of the Nazis.

Others, however, have widened the application of this word, in the first instance to include all of those who perished under the Germans and their allies. Following Simon Wiesenthal, for instance, President Jimmy Carter, speaking on Holocaust Remembrance Day in Washington in 1979, referred to eleven million victims, among them six million Jews and five million non-Jews. And more recently, the language of “Holocaust” has been widened still further; now it is regularly invoked by people who want to draw public attention to human-rights abuses, social inequalities suffered by racial and ethnic minorities and women, environmental disasters, AIDS, and a whole host of other things.

Among opponents of this tendency, the Israeli scholar Yehuda Bauer has spoken out perhaps most strongly, arguing that “in the public mind the term ‘Holocaust’ has become flattened,” so that “any evil that befalls anyone anywhere becomes a Holocaust.” Tracing the causes of this development, Bauer points to a dilemma faced by those who created the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.: “It was unclear,” Bauer writes, “how the uniqueness of the Holocaust and its universalist implications could be combined in a way that would be in accord with the American heritage and American political reality.” Bauer does not spell out what he means by “American political reality,” but it does not require a vivid imagination to fill in the blanks.

_____________

 

Michael Berenbaum, director of the museum’s research institute, has taken issue with Bauer, writing that the story of the Holocaust “had to be told in such a way that it would resonate not only with the survivor in New York and his children in San Francisco, but with a black leader from Atlanta, a Midwestern farmer, or a Northeastern industrialist.” Connecting such a diverse audience to history, in Berenbaum’s view, meant finding a way to “inform their current reality,” including what he calls their current “social need.”

The social needs of the different American types that Berenbaum lists, however, are of a diverse sort, and there are a good many more types than the ones he enumerates. One wonders how any story of the crimes of the Nazi era can both remain faithful to the specific features of those events and at the same time address contemporary American social and political agendas in all their multiplicity. Berenbaum’s formula for resolving such potential problems is to recognize that while the Holocaust was a unique event, it carries universal implications.

That is no doubt the case. Yet as others have developed their own understandings of the formula, the “uniqueness” of the Holocaust has begun to yield some of its priority to what are taken to be its wider metaphorical ramifications. According to its own director of communications, for example, the Holocaust Museum’s ultimate goal is an “en-masse understanding that we are not about what the Germans did to Jews but what people did to people.” If the Washington museum ever explicitly adopts so broad a mission, it will cease to be a museum devoted to educating the public about the Nazi Holocaust and become something else.

We need not wonder what that “something else” would look like, for it is already upon us at the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. As Edward Norden has noted in these pages,1 by situating the Holocaust within a historical framework that includes such quintessentially American experiences as the Los Angeles riots and the struggle for black civil rights, the Museum of Tolerance radically relativizes the catastrophe brought on by Nazism. America’s social problems, for all of their gravity, are not genocidal in character and simply do not resemble the persecution and systematic slaughter of Europe’s Jews during World War II. To mingle the victims of these very different historical experiences, therefore, is to metamorphose the Nazi Holocaust into that empty and all but meaningless abstraction, “man’s inhumanity to man.”

This tendency has, in fact, been prominent right from the start in American understandings of the Holocaust. But today it is growing exponentially, especially within those segments of American culture intent on developing a politics of identity based on victim status and the grievances that come with it. The rhetoric of “oppression” has become a commonplace of contemporary American political, academic, and artistic discourse, and its exponents frequently take recourse to the signs and symbols of the Nazi Holocaust to describe what they see as their own “victimization” within American society.

_____________

 

To cite one egregious example among many, consider the feminist artist Judy Chicago. Chicago (nee Gerowitz) claims descent from 23 generations of rabbis, but until the age of forty-five, as she freely admits, she knew virtually nothing about either Judaism or the Holocaust. Now she has produced an installation entitled the Holocaust Project, which combines her own work in several media with that of her husband, the photographer Donald Woodman.

The Holocaust Project had its opening at the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies in Chicago in the fall of 1993 and is slated for shows at the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, the Los Angeles branch of the Hebrew Union College, and elsewhere. Those who do not actually get to see the photo-paintings, tapestries, and stained-glass productions that make up the exhibit can consult an illustrated volume, also entitled Holocaust Project, which carries colored plates of the art work along with numerous preliminary sketches, historical and contemporary photographs, excerpts from the artists’ readings, and a detailed and highly revealing personal journal that Chicago kept as she set out to educate herself about her subject.

Her search extended over a period of six or seven years and took Chicago and her husband on trips to former camp sites and other places of wartime interest in France, Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Russia, Latvia, and Lithuania. To make the “Holocaust experience” her own, as it were, Chicago did some things that went well beyond ordinary tourist behavior. Thus, during a visit to the former Natzweiler/Struthof concentration camp in France, she had herself photographed lying down on one of the long iron shovels that had been used to feed the bodies of victims into the flames of the crematorium oven. The large picture of her stretched out and seemingly entering the mouth of the oven is accompanied by a brief explanatory note: “When I lay on the shovel that carried bodies into the crematorium, I realized that, had I lived in Europe during the war, this would probably have happened to me. (Donald is too young.)”

The Holocaust Project includes other “revelations” of this order. In translating them into her art work, Chicago was guided by a point of view that, she says, set her and her husband apart from most members of “the Holocaust community.” Specifically, Chicago’s “more comprehensive approach” situates the Holocaust as one “victim experience” among many, and finds the root of all of these in “the injustice inherent in the global structure of patriarchy and the result of power as it has been defined and enforced by male-dominated societies.” Having sighted the enemy and given him his proper name, the artist then set out to make his violence graphic.

The art work itself reflects these emphases and understandings. One finds images of Nazi brutality side by side with images of slavery, atomic warfare, animal vivisection, and evil-looking gynecologists. Women are everywhere abused, attacked, tormented. A large tapestry entitled The Fall, conceptualized along the lines of a “battle of the sexes,” depicts naked women being attacked by knife-wielding men while other women are burned alive. In this same piece, a black slave plows furrows into the weeping earth-mother; a gaunt Jesus-like figure hangs helplessly in the background; other men wield bloody swords or feed people into the flaming ovens; and still others flay the hides of pigs and women hung side by side on a rack. In the middle of this torment is a reworking of Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man, which, an explanatory note tells us, is meant to show that the Holocaust had its true origin in “that moment in human history when men consolidated patriarchal power through force.”

The last piece, entitled Rainbow Shabbat, is a departure, intended to close the exhibit on a prayerful note, “an invocation for human awakening and global transformation.” A large stained-glass production, it depicts twelve people around a Sabbath table. At one end of the table stands a woman, covered in a traditional prayer shawl, blessing the candles. At the other end, a man, also in a prayer shawl, is offering the traditional blessing over wine. Seated around the table are representatives of the world’s people—an Arab in a kaffiyeh, a Christian minister or priest with a large crucifix dangling on a chain beneath his clerical collar, Vietnamese, blacks, women, children, assorted whites. The ten people all face away from the man and toward the woman; although their faces are expressionless, they have their arms about one another and seem to fall within the embrace of the praying woman’s outstretched arms, giving us to understand that all is now well with the world or soon will be. Rainbow colors fill out the table scene from top to bottom, and on flanking side panels a large Jewish star, also surrounded by these bright colors, is inscribed with words that end the Holocaust Project on a prayerful note: “Heal those broken souls who have no peace and lead us all from darkness into light.”

_____________

 

Atrocious as it is both conceptually and visually, Judy Chicago’s version of the Holocaust embodies a number of trends that inform the American cultural and political mood today. It is no news that we live in an age marked by narcissistic indulgences of a relentless sort. In such a time, everything is drawn back to the self and its desires, the self and its needs, the self and its pains. Combine this extreme emphasis on subjectivity with an increasingly intrusive political correctness and you get not only a production like the Holocaust Project but many another invocation of the Holocaust dragged emblematically into contemporary American debates over AIDS, abortion, child abuse, gay rights, the rights of immigrant aliens, etc. All are victims, and all are being readied for extermination.

But the cult of victimhood is only one typological strand in the Americanization of the Holocaust. Another, no less sentimental, derives from a seemingly opposite trait: the American tendency to downplay or deny the dark and brutal sides of life and to place a preponderant emphasis on the saving power of individual moral conduct and collective deeds of redemption. This tendency could be seen at work as far back as the 50′s in the uplifting “twist” given to the stage and screen versions of Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl.

First published in English translation in 1952, The Diary of a Young Girl remains one of the best-known and best-loved stories of World War II. The book was made into a popular play by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett and produced on Broadway in 1955; four years later it was screened as an equally popular full-length film. The book, the play, and the film remain in circulation to this day—a “definitive” new edition of The Diary is now on the best-seller lists—and it is fair to say that more Americans are familiar with Anne Frank’s story than with any other single narrative of the war years.

The Diary of a Young Girl is also widely read in American schools, and American youngsters regularly see the stage and film versions as well. Their teachers encourage them to identify with Anne Frank and to write stories, essays, and poems about her. Some even see her as a kind of saint and pray to her. During their early adolescent years, many American girls view her story as their story, her fate as somehow bound up with their fate.

What is it that defines Anne Frank’s image for people in this country, and why have they come to cherish it so? There is a vague understanding that she was a Jew and for this reason also a victim, but the stage and film translations of her diary do not make her appear “too Jewish,” nor do they make her status as a victim too unbearably harsh.

It is notable, for instance, that at no time during the play does a Nazi soldier or Gestapo agent ever appear on the stage. Although the play has its anxious moments, these are never fixed visually on those who actually pursued Anne Frank and her family in their hiding places and made them into victims. Rather, anxiety builds toward a fate that is carefully kept hidden from the audience, which is spared any direct confrontation with Nazi violence. Consequently, one can leave the theater feeling uplifted by Anne Frank’s story rather than deeply disturbed.

The early reviews of the Broadway production of the diary registered these feelings in unambiguous ways. Writing in the New York Herald Tribune about the play’s debut at the Cort Theater, Walter Kerr had this to say:

Nearly all of the characters in The Diary of Anne Frank. . . are doomed to death. Yet the precise quality of the new play at the Cort is the quality of glowing, ineradicable life—life in its warmth, its wonder, its spasms of anguish, and its wild and flaring humor.

Kerr was echoed by William Hawkins in the New York World Telegram and Sun (“One leaves the theater exhilarated, proud to be a human being”); by John Beaufort in the Christian Science Monitor (“endows the deeper grief of its subject with a shining and even triumphant humanity”); and Richard Watts in the New York Post (“an inspiring drama, not a wrathful one”).

These reviews, and numerous others like them, reveal the terms in which Americans of the mid-1950′s were prepared to confront the Holocaust: a terrible event, yes, but ultimately not tragic or depressing; an experience shadowed by the specter of a cruel death, but at the same time not without the ability to inspire, console, uplift. And still today, among those who come to know Anne Frank through the pages of her diary or the stage or screen versions of it, responses are remarkably similar. Thus, Harry James Cargas, a contemporary American literary scholar and theologian, has recently written: “Each time I read the Diary I am uplifted. Anne’s spirit gives me hope. Each time I read the Diary I cannot help but feel that this time she’ll make it, she’ll survive.”

She did not survive, as we know, but went to her death in Bergen-Belsen before she was even sixteen years old. Nevertheless, the survival fantasy that was triggered in Cargas’s encounter with Anne Frank is common. Who, after all, wants to stare into the abyss and discover only blackness? Consequently, Americans are typically given stories and images of the Nazi Holocaust that turn upward at the end, as in Anne’s signature line from the stage production, “In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.” (To which her father replies, humbly and affectionately, “She puts me to shame.”)

It is on a similar note that Gerald Green ended the NBC mini-series, Holocaust; that William Styron chose to end his popular novel, Sophie’s Choice; and that Steven Spielberg ends his extravagantly acclaimed film, Schindler’s List. In each of these instances and others like them, it is almost a general requirement that audiences not be subjected to unrelenting pain. Indeed, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum itself partakes of this orientation, as when it reminds prospective new members that it is physically situated near “the great American monuments to democracy” on the National Mall, so that departing visitors can quickly reestablish themselves in the familiar and consoling realities of American space.

_____________

 

The determination to look on the bright side of things—the mirror image, as I have noted, of the cult of universal victimhood—has been responsible lately for the emergence of two new Holocaust “types”: the survivor and the rescuer.

For a number of years following the end of World War II, relatively little public attention was paid to those who had managed to survive the Nazi assault against European Jewry and resettle in the United States. Their status was that of the “D.P.,” the “immigrant,” the “war refugee,” or the “greenhorn,” and attitudes toward them were hardly adulatory. Generous-hearted people did what they could to help, others more or less ignored them. Throughout the late 1940′s and well into the 50′s, a prevalent attitude was to put all of “that” behind one and get on with life.

Here is how the sociologist William Helmreich describes the situation:

Most immigrants quickly learned not to talk about the war, often rationalizing their reluctance by saying that the stories were too horrible to be believed. Americans frequently responded to such stories with accounts of how they too had undergone privation during the war, mostly food rationing. Moritz Felberman [a survivor] was told by his aunt: “If you want to have friends here in America, don’t keep talking about your experiences. Nobody’s interested and if you tell them, they’re going to hear it once and then the next time they’ll be afraid to come see you. Don’t ever speak about it.”

Just when this period of relative muteness ended is hard to say, but beginning in the mid-to-late 60′s and up to the present day a radical change of attitude has taken place, so much so that today the “survivor” is a much-honored figure and, in some instances, enjoys something close to celebrity status.

As survivors, these aging men and women are frequently sought as platform speakers at commemorative programs and other public occasions during the year, and sizable audiences are likely to turn out to hear them tell their tales. Survivor memoirs have been published in large volume and by now constitute a significant sub-genre of Holocaust literature. In addition, institutions like the Fortunoff Video Archives at Yale University have engaged in ambitious efforts to interview the aging witnesses and get their stories on tape while it is still possible to do so.

In short, the survivor now enjoys a greatly heightened public profile and carries about him an aura that solicits honor, respect, fascination, and no small degree of awe. The novelist Leon Uris has recently stated the case forthrightly: “These men and women are to be looked upon with wonderment.” And so, increasingly, they are.

It should be noted that this is due in no small part to their own efforts. Many of those who managed to survive the ghettos, camps, and assorted hiding places of Nazi-occupied Europe have dedicated themselves energetically and successfully to seeing to it that their stories are preserved for future generations. Without their extraordinary commitment there would be no United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, no video archives, no endowed chairs at American colleges and universities for the teaching of the Holocaust. And who can forget that it was a survivor, Elie Wiesel himself, who in the spring of 1985, with the world’s television cameras recording the moment, dared to tell the President of his country that it was “not your place” to travel to Germany to join Prime Minister Kohl for ceremonies at a military cemetery?

The newly-found strength, self-confidence, and self-assertion of survivors may have reached a high point just last year, when, during the Academy Awards ceremony, Branko Lustig, himself a survivor, and Steven Spielberg stepped before a vast, appreciative television audience and, in the name of the survivors as well as of “the six million,” accepted their Oscars as producer and director of Schindler’s List.

_____________

 

Schindler’s List is a film that celebrates survivors—specifically, the 1,100 Jews snatched from a gruesome death. It is also, more pertinently, a film that celebrates the other newly salient figure of the Holocaust: the rescuer. For we are in an age which has elevated to heroism not the Jewish victims of Nazism, and not even the Jewish resistance movement, but “righteous Gentiles,” “helpers,” “liberators,” “rescuers,” and “saviors,” the ones who managed to exemplify virtue during a time when basic human goodness was otherwise hardly to be found.

In this regard, it is notable that the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington is situated directly on Raoul Wallenberg Place, a designation rich in symbolic implication. And thanks to Steven Spielberg’s film, the Swedish hero Wallenberg has now been joined among the “righteous of the nations” by the German Oskar Schindler. The attention focused on Schindler’s deeds, moreover, has had the effect of renewing or creating interest in the stories of others who acted similarly—Aristedes de Sousa Mendes, Sempo Sugihara, Hermann Graebe, Miep Gies, Pastor André Trocmé, the people of Le Chambon, the Danes.

Each of these risked life and limb to protect and save Jews during the war. While their numbers were not huge, their actions were clearly exemplary. But the question lingers: how central are these “moral heroes” to the larger history of the Holocaust?

Schindler’s List answers this question forthrightly: rescuers like Schindler were not at the margins but at the precise center of events. Spielberg has in effect repositioned the terms of the Holocaust story; if, as some claim, his film is to be regarded as the definitive treatment of the Holocaust, and if, as others claim, it may actually do more to educate people than all the books on the subject combined, it has achieved these ends as the result of a “paradigm shift” of significant proportions.

In general, the Jews in Schindler’s List are weakly imagined figures, either passive victims of random atrocity or venal collaborators with their persecutors.2 In just about every case they are presented as nondescript, anonymous figures or as stereotypes, the men among them associated with money deals and other sorts of scheming and the women as temptresses and seductresses. Itzhak Stern, the only Jewish character developed at any length, is an inflexible, soulless type, a professional bookkeeper whose expression throughout the film rarely changes.

In just about every other respect, however, the Jews in Schindler’s List are irrelevant to the major drama; and so, in a peculiar way, is Nazism, at least as a political system responsible for particular kinds of human behavior. Instead, the film focuses on two Germans: Amon Goeth, commander of the Plaszow labor camp and the embodiment of limitless evil of a personal or metaphysical rather than of a political kind, and Oskar Schindler. In the contest between the two, it is of course Schindler who prevails and who, at film’s end, is properly the recipient of the rescued Jews’ gratitude, respect, and love.

This ending takes Schindler and the Jews through two major rites of passage, both of which have about them an aura of the morally sublime, if not indeed of the sacred. Through the presentation of a gold ring, the Schindlerjuden in effect “marry” themselves to this man out of heartfelt gratitude for his righteous deeds. And in the final cemetery scene, these same Jews, now elderly, pay their respects to the memory of their savior through the ritualistic placing of tokens of honor and love on his grave.

Both scenes convey tender feelings of affection, respect, and reconciliation—and both scenes project Schindler as a figure defined by overtly Christian symbolism. In the first, he holds forth in a dramatic speech that recalls the Sermon on the Mount; in the second, the camera pans lovingly over the crosses in Jerusalem’s Latin Cemetery, coming to rest on the gravesite where Schindler himself is buried. Together, the two scenes bring to culmination the career of a man who, however flawed in character, is nothing short of a saintly hero.

_____________

 

As Michael Andre Bernstein has observed, Schindler’s List satisfies “a characteristic American urge to find a redemptive meaning in every event.” Yet, although it is the most recent and the most powerfully articulated example of this tendency, it is hardly alone. In a recent book, Conscience and Courage: Rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust, Eva Fogelman states frankly that “people in the 1990′s are hungry for role models,” and she goes on to propose the rescuers as such models. Indeed, she does not hesitate to define them as the “spiritual heirs to the lamed vav—the 36 people of Jewish tradition whose sole task it is, in every generation, . . . to do good for their fellow men.”

It was the French writer Andre Schwarz-Bart who revived popular interest in the lamed-vav some 35 years ago in his novel, The Last of the Just (1959); but in Schwarz-Bart’s presentation, this tradition had reached its point of exhaustion during the time of the Holocaust. Now there is an effort to revive it. Another French novelist, Marek Halter, has just completed a full-length film, Tzedek, which presents the stories of 36 righteous Gentiles who rescued Jews. At least a half-dozen books on Raoul Wallenberg have appeared since the early 1980′s, and new titles on Oskar Schindler are already reaching American bookstores. All told, since 1980 at least 40 films and 35 books have related stories of Christian rescue of Jews.

In 1984, the United States Holocaust Memorial Council sponsored a major conference entitled “Faith in Humankind: Rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust.” Since then, smaller conferences have been held elsewhere on the same theme. The Altruistic Personality Project has run programs and sponsored publications on this motif, and other initiatives such as Friends of Le Chambon, Thanks to Scandinavia, and Tribute to the Danes direct attention to rescue efforts of a more specifically regional kind. Seen within this context, Steven Spielberg’s film, far from being exceptional, is the culmination of something that has been developing for a number of years now.

The person who has done the most to advance this theme is Rabbi Harold N. Schulweis. In 1963, on the heels of the Eichmann trial, Schulweis founded the Institute of Righteous Acts at the Judah Magnes Museum in Berkeley, California. Some twenty years later he went on to establish the Jewish Foundation of Christian Rescuers, now an integral part of the Anti-Defamation League’s International Center for Holocaust Studies. In addition, Schulweis has written a good deal about the deeds of the “righteous,” has published several articles on rescuers, and devotes a full chapter to them in his most recent book, For Those Who Can’t Believe (1994).

When it comes to recounting the story of the Holocaust, Schulweis maintains that we face a fundamentally ethical question: “How are we to remember without destroying hope?” His answer, not surprisingly, is to look to the “righteous among the nations” as a positive counterweight to what is otherwise an overwhelmingly negative and depressing record of villainy. “There is a moral symmetry in man,” Schulweis insists, and to help restore it, we must become newly attentive to the voices of heroism. These figures can serve, for one thing, as a bridge in advancing the aims of Jewish-Christian dialogue. But beyond this, at least in Schulweis’s thinking, their goodness has achieved the level of a theological principle.

“Where was Adonai [God] in Auschwitz?” Schulweis asks. “Where was the power and mystique of Adonai within the hell of the Holocaust?” This is a question raised by numerous religious thinkers in our time, but few if any have answered as Schulweis does:

Adonai was in Nieuvelande, a Dutch village in which 700 residents rescued 500 Jews. . . . Adonai was in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, whose citizens hid and protected five thousand Jews. . . . Adonai was in the rat-infested sewers of Lvov, where Polish sewer workers hid seventeen Jews. . . . Adonai was in Bulgaria . . . in Finland. . . . Adonai was with the Italian troops stationed in the southwestern half of Croatia. . . . in Yugoslavia, Greece, southern France, Albania. . . .

The litany goes on and on, an “affirmative” antiphony to that strain of severe religious doubt, if not outright despair, that characterizes much post-Holocaust Jewish religious consciousness. If Andre Schwarz-Bart came to the melancholy conclusion that the Nazi assault against the Jews had brought an end to the ancient Jewish tradition of the Just, Schulweis, by contrast, not only revives the tradition but, on the basis of its Christian exemplars—multiplied many times 36—actually presumes to locate God within the Holocaust.

_____________

 

For Schulweis, “memory of the Holocaust is a sacred act that elicits a double mandate: to expose the depth of evil and to raise goodness from the dust of amnesia.” Eva Fogelman has put the same “mandate” in the form of a question: “Every child knows the name of Hitler, but how many know the name of Raoul Wallenberg?”

The fact is, however, that in the American population at large, and not only among children, pitifully little is known about either Hitler or Wallenberg. And even if it were the case that knowledge of the former ran deep and knowledge of the latter were all but absent, the case for “balance” would not be convincing. There was not and can never be any “symmetry” in the historical weights of Hitler and Wallenberg, or Hitler and Schindler, or Hitler and the good people of Le Chambon. The deeds of the righteous are assuredly worthy of remembrance, but by placing them on an almost equal level with the deeds of Hitler and encompassing both within a “double mandate,” one thoroughly vitiates any sober understanding of the acts of the murderers, let alone the sufferings of their victims.

There are obvious benefits to such a way of remembering the Holocaust. Religious faith may revive for some, and the tenor of Jewish-Christian dialogue may improve for others. But for most, this exaltation of the “righteous,” together with the sentimentalized celebration of survivors, and the eager extension of victim status to any and all comers, may well serve to foster a great complacency about the most harrowing history of this century. The Israeli writer Aharon Appelfeld, himself a survivor, has written about rescuers in a manner that restores some much-needed perspective:

During the Holocaust there were brave Germans, Ukrainians, and Poles who risked their lives to save Jews. But the Holocaust is not epitomized by the greatness of these marvelous individuals’ hearts. . . . I say this because survivors sometimes feel deep gratitude to their rescuers and forget that the saviors were few, and those who betrayed Jews to the Nazis were many and evil.

A similar sense of perspective is required in considering the other contemporary distortions introduced by the relentless Americanization of the Nazi destruction of European Jewry.


Footnotes

1 “Yes and No to the Holocaust Museums,” August 1993.

2 For a fuller discussion of this point, see Philip Gourevitch, “A Dissent on Schindler's List,” COMMENTARY, February 1994.

About the Author




Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.