What to make of the legacy of Holocaust survivors – News – The University of Sydney

Posted By on October 18, 2021

The Holocaust is possibly the most extensively documented event in recorded history. The number of studies on the topic is such that no single researcher can possibly hope to keep abreast of every development. Collections of testimony also abound in number and form. We have written, audio, video and now even holographic collections of testimony. There is, indeed, no lack of history. The question is what we learn from this history and how we relate to it in the present.

These meanings are not self-evident. Whether reflection on the history of the Holocaust and other mass atrocities can ensure ethical action in the present remains open for debate. Yet that such histories should be studied to shake our ethical convictions to their foundations and demand that we consider them anew, is surely undeniable. If we can engage the stories of survivors to unsettle rather than simply affirm our worldviews, this history will continue to reverberate in the present.

Australia can seem so distant from such events and facile comparisons do nobody any good. We are not Nazi Germany, but nor are we a society free of racism, antisemitism, and profound structural inequalities. We need to learn about the Holocaust not because we fear its repetition, but because political and social forces that fuel inequity and discord remain with us today.

The survivor generation have given us their stories. What will we make of them?

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What to make of the legacy of Holocaust survivors - News - The University of Sydney

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