Alek D. Epstein, Vladimir (Ze’ev) Khanin. Non-Self-Evident Memory: Post-Soviet Jewry and the Holocaust

Non-Self-Evident Memory: Post-Soviet Jewry and the Holocaust

By Alek D. Epstein, Vladimir (Ze’ev) Khanin

(Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Bar-Ilan University and Ariel University of Samaria)

Source: Judaica Ukrainica 2 (2013): 142–151

Publication date: December 1, 2013

Publication type: article

Language: English

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Abstract

Two decades after the establishment of the first Holocaust studies research and education centers in Russia and Ukraine, the great majority of civil society in both states is still prisoner to various stereotypes and omissions regarding World War II history. The question of the local population’s collaboration with the Nazis remains probably the most problematic issue. The more time went by and the fewer were the witnesses to those events, the more the Holocaust seemed far away — even to the Jewish families. The authors argue that Holocaust memory is not passed down from generation to generation, but is developed from the outside, as if it concerned some distant historical events rather than something that happened only seven decades ago in Russia and Ukraine. The declining numbers of Holocaust survivors and the historical distance from the events poses a fundamental challenge to the memory of the Holocaust in the 21st century. Serious efforts are still needed in order to develop educational programs to transmit the memory of the Holocaust to future generations.

 

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