The Holocaust as History

  • Dan Michman
Chapter

Abstract

The ‘beginning of the 21st century’, even though essentially being just a mere technical writing convention with no real inner meaning, will actually turn out to be a significant turning point in future approaches to the Holocaust. Anyone paying attention to the use of language, will testify to the fact, that during the last decade of the 20th century and second millennium (according to the most common calendar, imposed through Christianity and western civilization), there was a public feeling of an approaching ‘peak’ and ‘turning point’. That is, that in spite of the apparent technicality of the date ‘2000’, it exerts a profound impact on the mood of people as well as on their perceptions of the past (and future). Thus, passing into ‘a new century’ can be compared emotionally to somebody descending from a mountain at the other side, losing the first part of his path out of sight. Such feelings and changing perceptions at the turn of centuries have precedents, the most documented one being the fin de siècle phenomenon of the late 19th century. As for ‘The Holocaust’, from now on, then, it will be referred to as an event that happened in a far-away past, just as the French Revolution, the Thirty Years War, or other widely recognized important historical events that happened before ‘our’ century. The Holocaust will lose its status as ‘the worst atrocity of our/this century’, a much-used phrase during the recent decades, showing close intimacy. Moreover, this development is accompanied by the fact of the last direct personal links to the event — survivors, perpetrators and bystanders — rapidly passing away.

Keywords

Europe Coherence Stake 

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Notes

  1. 1.
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2001

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  • Dan Michman

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