The Abuse of Holocaust Memory: Distortions and Responses

In an increasingly uncertain world, the Holocaust is likely to continue to play an important role as the metaphor of absolute evil. This is all the more so as threats of genocide again appear in public statements. Fighting the main manipulations of the Holocaust requires first understanding the nature of the abuses. This must be followed by exposing the manipulations of the perpetrators, who should then be turned into the accused.

Over the past several decades, awareness of the Holocaust in the Western world has increased greatly. Many of its aspects are cited accurately. The broad superficial familiarity with the subject, however, also makes it prone to a multitude of distortions. Its history and terminology are abused for a variety of purposes, including using it as a tool against one’s enemies and, in particular, Jews and Israel.

Denial of the Holocaust is the best-known and most-studied distortion of its memory. Other categories of abuse include Holocaust justification, deflection, whitewashing, de-Judaization, equivalence, inversion, and trivialization, as well as obliterating Holocaust memory.

Preserving Holocaust memory correctly requires documentation; education; the establishment of monuments, museums, and memorials, ceremonies and remembrance days; as well as commemorative projects. Legislation and art are other spheres that have made important contributions.

This book analyzes the categories of distortion and the responses to them. Also included are case studies that analyze Holocaust distortion in several European countries and the Muslim world.

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About Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld is former Chairman of the Steering Committee of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, where he founded and directed the Center's Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism program. Dr. Gerstenfeld is an international business and environmental strategist. Dr. Gerstenfeld is the author of many books including Revaluing Italy; Environment and Confusion; Israel's New Future Interviews; The State as Business: Do It Yourself Political Forecasting; Judaism, Environmentalism and the Environment; and The Environment in the Jewish Tradition-A Sustainable World. His latest book, Europe's Crumbling Myths exposes the origins of post-Holocaust anti-Semitism.