Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Memory Book Of A Young Jewish Girl In Hungary 1937-1941, And The Need For Study Of East European Jewish Life

'A wall separates study of the Holocaust from study of all other aspects of the Jewish past.'

We don’t have a history of the Holocaust that is set in the Eastern European lands where the victims died, and that describes the interactions of the German invaders, the Jewish inhabitants, and the peoples among whom the Jews lived. Why not? The vast literature on the Holocaust based on German sources, though it represents perhaps the most impressive historical research of recent decades, seldom draws from Eastern European languages. Eastern European historians, for their part, have traditionally avoided a topic that transcends national history and challenges national myths of innocence. In Historians of the Jews and the Holocaust, historian David Engel suggests a surprising addition to this list of limitations: historians of Jewish life, scholars comfortable with the longue durée of Jewish history and with Hebrew and Yiddish, have sequestered Jewish societies and institutions from the Holocaust. Over decades, says Engel, they have built a “wall separating study of the Holocaust from study of all other aspects of the Jewish past.”

(From an article in the September 30, 2010 issue of The New York Review Of Books, "What We Need To know About The Holocaust", by Yale University Professor Of History Timothy Snyder.)