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.
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
1 Fitting Memorials 18
2 Telling the World 86
3 The Saving Remnant 150
4 Germany on Their Minds 216
5 Wrestling with the Postwar World 266
6 Facing the Jewish Future 321
Conclusion: The Corruption of History, the Betrayal of Memory 365
About the Author 529
What People are Saying About This
From the Publisher
“For several years the debate over postwar responses to the Jewish catastrophe has simply recycled the same data, with partisans declaring that the cup is neither half empty or half full depending on their point of view. Now, thanks to the mountain of evidence she has excavated, Hasia Diner has landed a knockout punch on those who assert that after 1945 American Jews were silent about the fate that befell the Jewish communities in Nazi-occupied Europe, preferring to forget about it while busily integrating into American society and enjoying the postwar boom.” -David Cesarani,Royal Halloway, University of London
“Diner seeks in this passionate volume to shatter the widespread myth that US Jews from 1945 to 1962 “had little interest in thinking about, engaging with, and memorializing the Holocaust.”” -CHOICE
“Diner's compelling, albeit lengthy, study is an extremely important addition to the literature. Probing and compassionate, it dynamically challenges the myth of silence that has been so durable in popular and scholarly accounts of postwar American Jewish life.” -American Jewish Archives Journal
“Only a seasoned, mature, and brilliant scholar such as Professor Diner could take it upon herself to challenge long-accepted beliefs maintained by an entire school of historians who preceded her. . .[her[ work is a very important, critical addition to the massive output of Holocaust research.” -Association of Jewish Libraries
"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
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