Why remembering the Holocaust? By Adriana Bunea

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Why remembering the Holocaust?

Adriana Bunea

“Remember… that which Amalek did to us; remember everything, do not forget for the rest of your lives, and pass on as a holy testament to the coming generations that the Germans killed, slaughtered and murdered us…”1

It happened 60 years ago, far and away from our daily lives. Far and away from our universities, work places, families and hometowns. They say that almost six million people died during it. Yet, people die all around the world…There are only few survivors, generally old people about whom we hardly hear something. From now and then there are impressive ceremonies where you can see important statesmen, nicely dressed, with serious and meditative expressions on their faces paying their respect to the victims of the Holocaust…Even so…apparently…what is now labeled as “the Holocaust” has little to do with our every day existences as there is no more a Hitler among political leaders, no more SS officers to perpetrate and nevertheless, there is no World War taking place…

So…why to remember the Holocaust? Why having and keeping alive the memory of such a terrifying and hard to even image event?

The subsequent paper will try to find some possible answers to these questions, focusing on the European, American and Israeli history and experiences regarding the process of remembering and assuming the Holocaust.

Thus, as remembering implies the idea of memory, the first part of the paper will focus on what is memory, how it works and what is its main significance for both the individual and the community he is part of.

The second part will tackle upon the relationship between memory and the Holocaust, assessing the place the latter has in today European culture and civilization with a brief emphasis on the particular evolution of Europeans’ consciousness over the last 60 years regarding this subject. This part will present the reasons justifying the need for the existence of an everlasting memory of the Holocaust.

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