Remembering the Holocaust: A Debate

Jeffrey C. Alexander, Martin Jay, Bernhard Giesen, Michael Rothberg, Robert Manne, Nathan Glazer, Elihu Katz

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook


This book explains why the Holocaust has come to be considered the central event of the 20th century, and what this means. It debates how the Holocaust has evolved over the years, and the profound effects it will have on the way we envision the future. Presenting controversial work, and following up with challenging and equally provocative responses to it, the book offers a sweeping historical reconstruction of the Jewish mass murder as it evolved in the popular imagination of Western peoples, as well as an examination of its consequences. The book's inquiry points to a broad cultural transition that took place in Western societies after World War II-from confidence in moving past the most terrible of Nazi wartime atrocities to pessimism about the possibility for overcoming violence, ethnic conflict, and war. The Holocaust has become the central tragedy of modern times, an event which can no longer be overcome, but one that offers possibilities to extend its moral lessons beyond Jews to victims of other types of secular and religious strife. Following the main chapter's controversial thesis is a series of responses by distinguished scholars in the humanities and social sciences, considering the implications of the universal moral relevance of the Holocaust. A final response comes in a postscript, focusing on the repercussions of the Holocaust in Israel.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages224
ISBN (Electronic)9780199944064
ISBN (Print)9780195326222
StatePublished - May 24 2012


  • 20th century
  • Atrocities
  • Cultural transition
  • Holocaust
  • Israel
  • Jewish mass murder
  • Nazi
  • Secular and religious strife
  • Western societies
  • World war ii

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

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