Delayed impact : the Holocaust and the Canadian Jewish community 1945-1985 / Franklin Bialystok
Includes bibliographical references (p. -424)
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Electronic version from ProQuest
The Holocaust was a seminal event in the twentieth century. Yet knowledge of the event in the western nations outside of Continental Europe remained limited until the 1960s. In Canada, the impact of the Holocaust in the Jewish community was delayed for a generation. This study asks two questions: what was the impact, and why was it delayed for a generation? The research shows that the community deemed that it was obligatory to eventually educate itself because of the centrality of the Holocaust in modern history, its overwhelming significance in Jewish history, and the role of Canada and its Jewish community during and immediately after the Nazi era. From the end of the war until 1960, however, this confrontation with the legacy of the Holocaust was avoided by most Canadian Jews. They were not psychologically prepared to deal with the event, nor were they attuned to the enormity of the loss that had occurred in a world that was not theirs. Moreover, the community was preoccupied with other priorities. This mood changed from the early 1960s to the mid 1970s because of the efflorescence of marginal but vicious antisemitism in Canada and by more potent racist and antisemitic outrages internationally. Concurrently, the Holocaust was emerging as a field of academic research, but more significantly as a theme in popular culture. In addition, the politicization of Holocaust survivors propelled interest leading to the institutionalization of the legacy of the event in the Canadian Jewish community. This was most evident in events that galvanized the community in 1985. This study relies upon two sets of sources: documents found in archives and private papers, and the author's interviews with selected individuals. The thesis is located in the field of post-war immigrant communities, but is also grounded in political history and is mindfull of the context of the international developments as they affected these developments.
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