Writing and Rewriting the Holocaust – James E Young

pg 134 – Of the centuries of historical archetypes for suffering accumulated in Hebrew, those generated during the period fo the Holocaust have begun to overwhelm all others. Due partly to the sheer enormity of events, partly to the great proportion of Holocaust survivors in Israel (nearly one-half the pop in 1948) , and partly to the central negative place of the Holocaust in Zionist ideology as the ultimate consequence of Jewish vulnerability in the Diaspora, images and figures from the Shoah have all but displaced their historical precedents. Not only has the shoah begun to figure retroactively all pre-shoah catastrophes – lending them significance they could not otherwise have had -but it has also become a standard in Jewish literature by which all kinds of post-holocaust calamities, Jewish or not , are now measured

pg 136 – “Its true that people believed that we would be exterminated if we lost the war. They were afraid. We got this idea- or inherited it – from the concentartion camps. Its a concrete idea for anyone who has grown up in ISrael, even if he personally didnt experience HItler’s persecution, but only heard or read about it.

… did you really get the feeling that extermination could happen here? [ asks kovner]/

.. Yes, certainly. I think its an idea that everyone in Israel lived with. (pp. 217 – 18).

This is the great irony of the Isrealis’ grasp of their predicament. ON the one hand, only a people fighting another HOlocaust will survive with Israel’s tenacity. But on the other hand, the sabra has been educated to believe that Israel is the only safe haven for Jew in the worl,d the only guartee against another Jewish Holocaust, and that “holocausts” happen only in the Diaspora.

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