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Between history and memory : Israeli historiography of the Holocaust : the period of "Gestation," from the mid 1940s to the Eichmann trial in 1961 / by Orna Kenan.

Publication | Library Call Number: D804.348 .K46 2000

This work deals with the roots and evolution of the early historiography of the Shoah in Eretz Yisrael and, after 1948, in the state of Israel. The very early history of the Shoah was not written by professional historians but by a group of dedicated survivors in the DP camps who became chroniclers and historians of sorts. This group of survivors established historical commissions throughout the DP camps, which collected testimonies, distributed questionnaires and gathered documents related to the their war-years experiences. With the immigration of the majority of She'erit Hapletah (the surviving remnants) to Bretz Yisrael in 1948, the historical commissions dissolved and transferred its gathered material mainly to Israel where it found its major hold at Yad Vashem, the state created institute for the commemoration and study of the Shoah period. From the outset, Yad Vashem was meant to be an integra part of the secular national symbolism of the Zionist movement and the State of Israel. Leaders of the Yishuv tended to emphasize the link between Jewish heroism during the Holocaust and Zionist ideology, while the victims, who were perceived to have gone to their deaths like sheep to the slaughter, embodied the proof for the righteousness of Zionism as well as a lesson and justification for the establishment of the Jewish state. This ideological framework directly impinged on the orientation of Yad Vashem since its establishment in 1953. Indeed, the commemoration and writings on the history of the Shoah within the framework of Yad Vashem were dominated by a common ideological ground: Zionism, with its specific relation to the diaspora and its particular vision of Jewish history from catastrophe to redemption. This ideological framework also affected, during the 1950s, a mounting tension and rivalry between Yad Vashem and other ideologically oriented institutions in Israel and abroad. It also resulted, for example, in the systematic exclusion of those researchers from among the survivors within Yad Vashem who did not fit the pre-established framework.

Kenan, Orna.
Record last modified: 2018-05-24 14:02:00
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