We Remember with Reverence and Love: American Jews and the Myth of Silence after the Holocaust, 1945-1962

We Remember with Reverence and Love: American Jews and the Myth of Silence after the Holocaust, 1945-1962

by Hasia R. Diner


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Winner of the 2009 National Jewish Book Award in American Jewish Studies
Recipient of the 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship in Humanities-Intellectual & Cultural History
It has become an accepted truth: after World War II, American Jews chose to be silent about the mass murder of millions of their European brothers and sisters at the hands of the Nazis.
In this compelling work, Hasia R. Diner shows the assumption of silence to be categorically false. Uncovering a rich and incredibly varied trove of remembrances—in song, literature, liturgy, public display, political activism, and hundreds of other forms—We Remember with Reverence and Love shows that publicly memorializing those who died in the Holocaust arose from a deep and powerful element of Jewish life in postwar America. Not only does she marshal enough evidence to dismantle the idea of American Jewish “forgetfulness,” she brings to life the moving and manifold ways that this widely diverse group paid tribute to the tragedy.
Diner also offers a compelling new perspective on the 1960s and its potent legacy, by revealing how our typical understanding of the postwar years emerged from the cauldron of cultural divisions and campus battles a generation later. The student activists and “new Jews” of the 1960s who, in rebelling against the American Jewish world they had grown up in “a world of remarkable affluence and broadening cultural possibilities” created a flawed portrait of what their parents had, or rather, had not, done in the postwar years. This distorted legacy has been transformed by two generations of scholars, writers, rabbis, and Jewish community leaders into a taken-for-granted truth.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814719930
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication date: 04/01/2009
Series: Goldstein-Goren Series in American Jewish History Series , #15
Pages: 540
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Hasia Diner is Paul S. and Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History, Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University. She is the author of the award-winning We Remember with Reverence and Love: American Jews and the Myth of Silence after the Holocaust, 1945-1962 (NYU Press, 2009).

Table of Contents

Introduction: Deeds and Words
1 Fitt ing Memorials
2 Telling the World
3 The Saving Remnant
4 Germany on Their Minds
5 Wrestling with the Postwar World
6 Facing the Jewish Future
Conclusion: Th e Corruption of History, the Betrayal of Memory
About the Author

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

In the last hundred pages of her book, Diner turns to other factors that led to more widespread memorialization of Holocaust victims and discusses the evolution of Holocaust commemoration in the United States. She commands enormous knowledge and her observations are astute."-Holocaust and Genocide Studies,

"The evidence- from youth groups programs, to memorial ceremonies, from early (and admittedly failed) efforts to build monuments, to synagogue programs- is quite overwhelming. So resourcefully has Diner tracked down sermons and song lyrics, posters and programs, that this reviewer finds it hard to imagine any future historians continuing to perpetrate the claim that an explicit communal consciousness of the Holocaust did not really surface until the 1960s."-AJS,

"Diner's book successfully proves that American Jews did remember the Holocaust with reverence and love prior to the early 1960s. Rich in documentation, her work challenges preconceived notions extent in many areas."-American Historical Review,

"Diner conclusively disproves American Jewish Holocaust amnesia before 1962 or 1967... In over five hundred pages of massively researched text and notes, including numerous illustrations, we see documented in great detail how American Jews not only remembered and memorialized the six million during those earlier years; they invoked them in almost everything they said and did as a community, particularly in the struggle for civil rights, where they drew from memories of Nazism a special hatred and fear for American racism, segregation, and bigotry."-H-Net Reviews,

"We Remember's real interest lies not only in its polemical conclusion, but also in its primary argument and supporting evidence."-Simon Perego,Books & Ideas

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