Texture of memory – James E Young

pg 212 – The question for the early state became: how to negate the Diaspora and put it behind the “new Jews” of Israel, while basing the need for new Jews in the memory of the Shoah? How to remember the Holocaust without allowing it to constitute the centre of one’s Jewish identity? IN part, the answer has been a forced distinction between the Israeli and the “galut,” or exilic, Jew. Where the Jew in exile has known only defencelessness and destruction, the Israeli has known fighting and self-preservation

pg 213- After years of being linked on the official day of remembrance (Yom Hashoah Vehagvurah) and in the national shrine ( Yad Vashem Heroes’ and Martyrs’ memorial) Shoah no longer signified defeat in the eyes of many young Israelis, but actually emerged as an era of heroism, of triumph over past passivity.

(N.q Israel became independant in 1948, so the hub of the new state could build itself on the new ideals and religion including the shoah) 

pg 214 – By standing up under these conditions and refusing to surrender to despair the Jews made possible the continuation of the Jewish people even in the inferno of the Holocaust and thereby helped the creation of the state of Israel. The stance of the Jews in the Holocaust reflects moral and spiritual power which provides the basis for our stance in the continued conflict .

pg 214- 215 – Due partly to the sheer enormity of events, partly to the great proportion of Holocaust survivors in Israel ( nearly half the population in 1948) and partly to the central negative place of the shoah in Zionist ideology, images and figure from this period have all but displace their historical precedents in Jewish memory

215 – At the same time, however , where memorials and museums in Europe, especially those located at the sites of destruction, focus relentlessly on the annihilation of Jews and almost totally  neglect the millennium of Jewish life in Europe before the war, those in Israel locate events in a historical continuum that includes Jewish life before and after the destruction. (n.q reflect this make to the rupture of german remembrance, and the static of the event, maybe this is why it is in the religion, life goes on etc)

pg 215 – in Idraeli museums at kibbutzim like Lohamei Hageta’ot, Tel Yitzhak, Givat Haim, and Yad Mordechai, Jewish life before, during and after the HOlocaust is givevn first priority. At  Yad Vashem,  Israel’s national holocaust memorial, the Holocaust marks not so much the end of Jewish life as the end of the viable life in Exile. (n.q look up exile in Jewish religion) 

pg 216- Jewish National rebirth afterwards (after the holocaust).

pg 216- A wall sculpture on the front of Jerusalem’s great synagogue is dedicated both to the six million martyrs and to Israel’s war dead: all of whom “died so that we might live” (N.q use of the word martyrs and the connection with jesus [religious] quote)

Chapter 9


pg 243 – Of all the memorial centers in Israel, only Yad Vashem Martyr’s and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority bears the explciti imprimatur of the ste. Conceived in the throes of the state’s birth and building, Yad Vashem would be regarded from the outset as an inegral part of Israel’s civic infrastructure.It would both share and buttress the state’s ideals and self-definition. An eclectic amalgamation of outdoor monuments, exhibition halls, and massive archives, Yad Vashem enacts the state’s double-sided memory of the holocaust in dozens of media

pg 244 – Morechai Shenhavin suggested that the site be called “Yad Vashem” (literally, a monument and a name; figuratively, a monument and a memorial) after a quotation from Isaiah (56:5), in which God declares how he will remember those who keep his covenant: “I will give the, in my house and within my walls, a monument and a name, better than sons and daughters. I will give them an everlasting name that shall never be effaced”.

pg 245 – on 18 may 1953, spurred on by the imminent unveiling of a “memorial to the unknown Jeiwsh martyr in Paris,” the Knesset unanimously passed what was the officialy called the “law of Remembrance of Shoah and Heroism – Yad Vashem”… on 19 August , one day after the Paris memorial’s unveiling, the law passed its final reading and became the first remembrance law of the land .

pg 245 – In its immediate temporal context, in fact, the link between the Holocaust and the establishment of the state was palpable for legislators in ways lost to and occasionally denied by subsequent generations. This was partly the result of the fact that nation Independence followed liberation of the camps by three years, as well as of a sense that Israels war of independence was fought as an extension of the Jews struggle for survival in Europe. IN the words of Nachum Goldman, former president of the World Jewish congress, “If the state came into being, it was not only by virtue of the blood spilt by those who fell in the battles for its existence, which is the highest price , but also, indirectly, because of the millions murders in the Holocaust [[from Nachum Goldman, ” The influence of the HOlocaust on the Change in the attitue of World Jewry to Zionism and the state of Israel, ” in Holocaust and rebirth: a symposium (jerusalem, 1974) , 103

pg 245 – Even more significant to many of Israel’s leaders at the time, however, was the overt political cause and effect between the Holocaust and the UN vote for Israeli statehood, For even in the practical side of its birth the state of Israel was tied closely to other nations perceptions and recent memory of the Holocaust. In order to persuade the UN commission appointed to study the partition of Palestine into Jewish and Araab sates, Goldman Reported, abba eban and avid Horowitz spent much of their time recalling to delegates the story of the Holocaust.

pg 246-247 – Unlike memorials that attempt to remove their national origins and interests from view, Yad Vashem’s mission as simultaneous custodian and creator of national memory was explicitly mandated in its law. Among the additional tasks national memory was explicitly mandated in its law. Among the additional tasks of Yad Vashem, as defined in Article 2, are “to collect, examine, and publish testimony of the Holocaust and the heroism it called forth and to bring home its lesson to the people”…. The function of memory in this project is precisely what i has always been for the Jewish nation in addition to bringing home the “national lessons” of the the Holocaust, memory would work to bind present and past-generations, to unify a world outlook, to create a vicariously shared experience. These are the implied functions of every national memorial, of course, merely made visible in Israel’s legislation of such memory.

pg 249  – Yad Vashem.. would be the beginning of a new, civic religion whose genesis would coincide with the creation of the state itself, whose new infrastructure would iclude Yad Vashem. Toward this end, a new historical space would be created, in which events of the Holocaust and the state’s founding would quite literally be recalled side by side.


pg 251  – From the warsal ghetto square, we enter glass doors of the historical museums open lobby, where we are confronted with a wall-sized monumental relief by Naftali Bezem entitled M’shoah l’tkumah (From shoah to Rebirth). Set in a black background, the first molten aluminium figure is, like the three that follow, a composite of symbolic forms: a factory emits round rings of smoke; two arms attached to two breasts hold two candlesticks upside down; a dead fish with the broken wings floats at the side. in the second figure, the human form is fragmented: an arm, a boot, a head, all disconnected. One hand grasps the ladder, a a symbol of uprising and aliyah (ascension or immigration to the land of Israel. ), while the other clenches a spear: on the left is destruction and on the right revolt. Destruction is but one elements in this sequence, known only in the contexts of its consequences. For in the next panel depicting the ascent to Israel, a man brings fire that has destroyed his family; the survivor in the third panel;’s boat is now a lion, with his paws on the ground. The overturned candlesticks of the first panel are set alright in the last section and burn brightly. somewhere between figuration and abstraction , these surreal pictographs traces Israel’s conceptual matrix of the Holocaust: Shoah, Revolt, Immigration, Rebirth.

pg 252 – 253 – Unlike European memorial expositins, the history of the Holocaust traced here does not end with the libeartion of the camps. In adjoining exhibits, the ghetto revolts and partisans are linked spatially to the current historical moment, to the state of Israel itself. For as the photographs of sruvivors coming ashore at the Haifa and Caesarea illustrate, the end of the Holocaust” come only with the survivors’ return to and redemption in Eretz Israel.

(n.q about the present) pg 253 – “Forgetting lengthens the period of exile! in remmebrance lies the secrete of deliverance.” with these words in mind, we walk outside into the blindingly brght light of Jerusalem, the present moment. The memorial message is reinforced further still. “that has all come to this,” the museum seems to be saying. “That was the galut, where Jews had no refuge, no defence only death and destruction; this is Israel, Its people alive.”

pg 260 – If Yad Vashem is indeed second onnly to the Western Wall in its sacredness as a shrine of Israel’s civil religion, as Liebman and Don-Yehiha have suggested, then it also becomes more than just a civic shrine. For, as Liebman and Don-Yehiya point out, the new civil religion in Israel invites a certain confusion between traditional and civil religion. After substitution civil religious values like heroism, bravery, and courage for traditional values like faith and patience, the ministers of the civil religion would have all forget that such substitutions were made. As a result, not only are traditional Jewish paradigms and holy sites reinvested with civil religious meaning, but civic site and their meanings acquir a certain religious fervor. Civil religion seeks to recapture- even remake – the spontaneous experience, the initial moment of redemption. It would like to remake it by imputing to contemporary experience the sacred sense of past religious experience. If the objective of civil religion is to sanctify the society in which it functions, as Liebman and Don-yehiya believe, then we cannot ignore the simultaneous sanctification of particular images of the Holocaust produced in sacred spaces like Yad Vashem. For such sanctification not only integrates, legitimises, and mobilises society, it also makes some interpretations of events holier than other interpretations. While this ma well be the traditional prerogative of the sate, critical visitors must also retain the right to remark the ways divine authority tends to accrue to a states institutions. IN all these ways, Yad Vashem continues to function as Israel’s ever-legitimising nation shrine par excellence.




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