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American Memory of Holocaust - Essay Example

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This essay describes the evolution of the American memory of the Holocaust is due to the outcome of a series of preferences made by the American Jewry in dealing with that memory. In practice, it is generally the choices made by the Jewish leaders tacitly approved by their constituents…
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American Memory of Holocaust
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Download file to see previous pages In the first decades after the war, Holocaust was quite trivial in both the American and the Jews consciousness (Novick, 1994).
Many scholars suggest that the Holocaust awareness by most Americans was based on inaccurate, trivial, and vague representations. The Jews extermination was remembered in important ways such as through the Nuremberg trials, Second World War accounts, comparisons with the Soviet totalitarianism, philosophical works, Jewish and Christian reflections in theology, mass-media portrayals, and scholarly pioneering publications. These attempts in the postwar period to understand the Jewish tragedy in the prevailing cultural paradigms offered the foundation for the consequent comprehension of that event (Baron, 2003).
In the late 1960s and 1970s, American memory of the Holocaust moved to a central position. The curve of memory slope may differ, but it is not steadily downward. The most vivid memory is the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust events that declined with the passage of time. With the Holocaust, it has been apparent social amnesia, virtual silence for an entire generation, then, the Rostovian move into self-sustained growth in the late 1960s and 1970s. For close to 20 years after the Second World War, Holocaust was largely ignored, and today, it is elaborated in the repression language. The Gentile guilt and the Jewish agony were too huge to be confronted. The very silence is often viewed as a testimony of the amount of feeling/sentiment that was being repressed (Novick, 1994).
It is important to note that Holocaust became important in the American Jewish life “only after the Eichmann trial, Israel’s 1967 triumph in the Six-Day War, and the surprise attack by Egypt and costly victory by Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur War” (Baron, 2003, p62). 3.B. The comic book “Maus: A Survivor’s Tale (1986)” subtitled as “My Father Bleeds History” was written by Spiegelman. The comic book narrates two stories; one story is about Artie’s current relationship with Vladek (his father) in Queens, New York. The other story is about the experiences of his parents during the occupation of Nazi in Poland. The text is preoccupied by the question of how Artie (or any other individual in the second generation) can come to possess their parents’ experiences, experiences they never witnessed. Towards the culmination of the first volume, Vladek and Artie are walking when Vladek bends over a trash container and takes an old piece of wire (Landsberg, 1997). Artie asks Vladek why he picked up the wire, Vladek responds by saying that inside the wire are other little wires, and they are good for trying things. Infuriated, Arties asks his father why he always picks up trash and why he cannot buy his own wires. Vladek responds by saying that why one has to buy if he can find some, and that the wires cannot be found in stores. He goes on to tell him that the wires he has picked are very useful. This scene involving Artie and Vladek functions as the metaphor for what the text itself does. The wire recirculation becomes an allegory for the Holocaust recirculation through a different medium. In this case, the recirculation is done by a comic book and this indicates that when the narrative is put into a different medium, new possibilities, and new insights appear (Landsberg, 1997). In this representation, the main theme is recirculation of the Holocaust. The recirculation of the wire serves as a metaphor for the potential value of the Holocaust in the American nation. It becomes a means ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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