Representations of the postwar West German Jewish community : creating a survivor identity through architecture, memorialization and film after the Holocaust, 1945-1989 / by Robert Miller.
The murder of six million Jews during the Holocaust necessitated a need to reestablish a Jewish presence in Europe and Germany in particular. Consequently, the severely diminished postwar West German Jewish population used three public venues to cultivate and disseminate their new postwar "survivor" identity. These venues included the rebuilding of destroyed synagogues, the establishment of a distinctly Jewish Holocaust monument, and the use of Jewish protagonists in film. However, the process of rebuilding their community was hindered both in part to Cold War ideologies and by Germany's initial reluctance to broach the subject of the Holocaust in the social and political arena, effectively marginalizing the Jewish struggle during the Holocaust after 1945. As a result, Jews created their own avenues for the cultivation and dissemination of a new "survivor" identity. Two such representations are evident in postwar synagogue architecture and Holocaust films. To the contrary, state-funded monuments representing the "Jewish Holocaust" remained scarce for decades after the war. Nonetheless, the Jewish community also used this silence as a means of cultivating a new "survivor" identity. The postwar Jewish community demanded official state recognition resulting in the dedication of the Monument to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin in 2005. The sense of a pride and strength that came from Jewish survivor's efforts has been adopted by the second and third generation Jews and has established the identity of a "survivor" community in the minds of contemporary German Jews.
Record last modified: 2018-04-24 16:01:00
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