Two Takes on Remembering the Holocaust in America

Hasia Diner’s new book, We Remember with Reverence and Love, has been stirring up a lot of talk in the media recently. You can head over to The Chronicle of Higher Education to read an excerpted chapter, or you can go to Commentary Magazine for a more critical take on the controversy surrounding (and/or started by) the book. As always, you can follow the latest developments about the book at its website,

Here’s a bit from the Chronicle excerpt:

The Jewish teenagers who spent the summer of 1956 at the Reform movement’s Camp Institute in Oconomowoc, Wis., edited a literary magazine, a repository of their fond memories of a summer well spent. They could not possibly have known as they cobbled together All Eyes Are on the … Literary Magazine that, a half-century later, their camp yearbook would be used to show how American Jews went about the process, text by text, artifact by artifact, and act by act, of creating a communal culture that hallowed the memory of the six million Jews who perished in Europe during the Holocaust.

Neither could they imagine that their deeds and words would play a role in undermining a widely accepted paradigm about post-World War II American Jews and the Holocaust, one which asserted that, on the whole, Jews remained silent about the catastrophe.

One camper, Sharon Feinman, said it most clearly as she focused on the summer’s theme, “Naaseh v’nishma” (“We will do and we will hear”), the words declaimed by the Israelites at Mount Sinai as they accepted the Ten Commandments. Her brief essay’s determined prose reflected the widespread concern of Jews of the United States with the Holocaust, their insistence that it be remembered, and their understanding that it affected their lives.

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