The End of the Holocaust

The End of the Holocaust

Alvin H. Rosenfeld
Distribution: Global
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.


“Investigating a wide range of cultural phenomena, such as the distortions of Anne Frank's story, and the ways in which the Holocaust has been depicted by filmmakers like Steven Spielberg, this provocative work charts the forces that have minimized the Holocaust in popular perceptions.”

“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

“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

“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

“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

“The time . . . is ripe for The End of the Holocaust, an important and deeply sobering book.7/11/2011”
 — Human Rights Service

“Alvin Rosenfeld has written an important book that deserves a wide audience, not only to help us maintain a clear picture of our troubled past, in order to come to terms with its historical reality—but indeed to help us avoid a future that will bring back the darkness and the fog. 7/11/2011”

“Rosenfeld is never shrill and often eloquent. But his book, now the indispensable study of its subject, cannot be read with pleasure, even by people who believe that 'in the destruction of the wicked, there is joy.'June, 2011”
 — Scholars for Peace in the Middle East

“The End of the Holocaust is an illuminating exploration that offers a worried look at Holocaust representation in contemporary culture and politics, reminding us that the great works focus on the distinctive tragedy of extermination, killing, radical dehumanization, and continuing trauma. August 2011”
 — H-Holocaust

“Alvin Rosenfeld is a brave man, and his new work is courageous. [It] is not reluctant to take on the unexamined pieties that have grown up around the slaughter, and the sentimentalization that threatens to smother it in meretricious uplift. October 10, 2011”
 — Ron Rosenbaum, Tablet Magazine

“Although Holocaust denial threatens to undermine the record of Nazi Germany's criminal legacy, Rosenfeld persuasively argues that other forces are inadvertently as dangerous.”
 — Jack Fischel, Hadassah Magazine

“What Rosenfeld has written, with passion and precision and some notably unanswered questions, is less an acccount of the Shoah being forgotten or denied than of being wrongly remembered. May/June 2011”
 — Moment

“This book fills the reader with gloom and rage, in nearly equal measure. The heart sinks, the mind reels, in contemplating the variegated assaults on Holocaust memory that Alvin Rosenfeld describes, analyzes, and seeks to throw back. Vol. 16, Issue 35”
 — The Weekly Standard

“Let us hope that, in the months and years to come, this important book finds a ready place on some important bedside tables. June 2011”
 — Israel Affairs

“The End of the Holocaust is a model of critical intelligence, restrained in its judgments, never shrill or accusatory in its disagreements, always illuminating in its insights into the motives and achievements of the major Holocaust writers Rosenfeld discusses. June 15, 2011”
 — Forward

“This work is an important and impassioned defense of the undeniable truth of the Holocaust and of its moral significance. ”
 — Holocaust and Genocide Studies

“This work is an important and impassioned defense of the undeniable truth of the Holocaust and of its moral significance. ”

“For showing us how to remember the Holocaust, and how to recognize many of the ways in which its memory is being killed, we owe Alvin Rosenfeld a debt of immense gratitude. ”
 — Wilson Quarterly

“Alvin Rosenfeld's The End of the Holocaust is a uniquely important work by one of the founding figures in the field of Holocaust literary studies. ”
 — Journal of Literature and the History of Ideas

“Alvin Rosenfeld . . . has performed an invaluable service for the cause of memory and historical accuracy. . . . While simultaneously documenting the mutilation inflicted on the history of the Shoah by contemporary culture and politics, he eloquently argues for the specificity of the Holocaust and its continuing impact on survivor writers. ”
 — Modern Judaism

“This book has monumental importance in Holocaust studies because it demands answers to the question how our culture is inscribing the Holocaust in its history and memory. ”
 — Arcadia

“The End of the Holocaust is a work of historical research and scholarship. It is certainly a major contribution to our understanding of the relationship of history to society, which is after all the historian’s task. The End of the Holocaust is an intelligently structured argument against current tendencies to relativize or negate the significance of the Nazi project of Jewish extermination.”
 — H-German

“This remarkable new work of scholarship—written in accessible language and not in obscure academese—is exactly the Holocaust book the world needs now. Indeed, it could not have been written before now because it is about now and how the specificity of the Nazis' gruesome, unprecedented and nearly sucessful genocide against Europe's Jews is being lost today, turned into mushy metaphor, unplugged from its historical roots. April 16, 2011”
 — Bill's 'Faith Matters' Weblog

“Alvin Rosenfeld brings a wealth of information to this highly readable, intelligently argued account of how the Holocaust is being conveyed and distorted to modern day audiences. Fall 2011”
 — Jewish Book World

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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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