The End of the Holocaust

The End of the Holocaust

Alvin H. Rosenfeld
Distribution: World
Publication date: 06/27/2013
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-01197-8
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In this provocative work, Alvin H. Rosenfeld contends that the proliferation of books, films, television programs, museums, and public commemorations related to the Holocaust has, perversely, brought about a diminution of its meaning and a denigration of its memory. Investigating a wide range of events and cultural phenomena, such as Ronald Reagan's 1985 visit to the German cemetery at Bitburg, the distortions of Anne Frank's story, and the ways in which the Holocaust has been depicted by such artists and filmmakers as Judy Chicago and Steven Spielberg, Rosenfeld charts the cultural forces that have minimized the Holocaust in popular perceptions. He contrasts these with sobering representations by Holocaust witnesses such as Jean Améry, Primo Levi, Elie Wiesel, and Imre Kertész. The book concludes with a powerful warning about the possible consequences of "the end of the Holocaust" in public consciousness.

Author Bio

Alvin H. Rosenfeld holds the Irving M. Glazer Chair in Jewish Studies and is Professor of English at Indiana University Bloomington. He is author of A Double Dying: Reflections on Holocaust Literature and Imagining Hitler, and editor of Thinking about the Holocaust: After Half a Century and Resurgent Antisemitism: Global Perspectives.


“With book after book studying the subject, with tens of thousands of testimonies recorded, with grim discoveries still being made in the “bloodlands” of Eastern Europe, why should we foresee the end of Holocaust memory? Alvin Rosenfeld’s magisterial account of both the universalizing and negationist trends of Holocaust study provides a disturbing answer. Polemical, readable, fully informed, it is an important contribution by an eminent scholar. ”
 — Geoffrey Hartman, The Longest Shadow: In the Aftermath of the Holocaust

“For the sake of transparency: Alvin Rosenfeld and I have been friends for some forty years. His work has always been present to my own. We have both written so much—too much?—on what we so poorly call the Holocaust, yet never in a situation of ideological or psychological conflict. Forcefully written, as always, his new volume honors his entire life as teacher and writer attached to the principles of intellectual integrity and moral responsibility. Here, too, he demonstrates erudition and knowledge, a gift for analysis and astonishing insight. Teachers and students alike will find this book to be a great gift.”
 — Elie Wiesel

“The End of the Holocaust merits our hot attention: disturbing and distressing, it is a compelling warning, unafraid and overridingly brave. What may have been noted before in scattered and far weaker ways, Alvin Rosenfeld delivers in one long breath, with culminating power in this enormously important book. ”
 — Cynthia Ozick

“Offers a clear, erudite, and disturbing exposition of some of the most prominent lines of thought and argument that have emerged from Holocaust literature and cultural debate over the last half century. . . . Effective and moving.”
 — Eric J. Sundquist, author of Strangers in the Land: Blacks, Jews, Post-Holocaust America

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Table of Contents

1. Popular Culture and the Politics of Memory
2. The Rhetoric of Victimization
3. The Americanization of the Holocaust
4. Anne Frank: The Posthumous Years
5. The Anne Frank We Remember/The Anne Frank We Forget
6. Jean Améry: The Anguish of the Witness
7. Primo Levi: The Survivor as Victim
8. Surviving Survival: Elie Wiesel and Imre Kertész
9. The End of the Holocaust
Epilogue: A "Second Holocaust"?

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