The Future of the Holocaust: Between History and Memory


In The Future of the Holocaust, Berel Lang continues his inquiry into the causal mechanisms of decision-making and conduct in Nazi Germany and into responses to the genocide by individuals and nations-an inquiry that he began in Act and Idea in the Nazi Genocide and pursued in Heidegger's Silence. Raising the question now of what the future of the Holocaust is, he addresses among other topics how history and memory together shape views of the Holocaust; how the concept of "intention"-which played a crucial part in the events of half a century ago-shapes history and memory themselves; and how future views of this genocide may alter those of today. In addition, Lang explores cultural representations of the "Final Solution"-from monuments to public school curricula-within the Jewish and German communities. He analyzes ethical issues concerning such concepts as intention, responsibility, forgiveness, and revenge, and puts forward a theory of the history of evil which provides a context for the Holocaust both historically and morally. Addressing the claims that the Nazi genocide was unique, Lang argues that the Holocaust is at once an actual series of events and a still future possibility. If the Holocaust occurred once, he argues, it can occur twice-and this view of the future remains an unavoidable premise for anyone now writing or thinking about that event in the past.


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