The long and public reckoning that followed the Holocaust shows a path forward for a United States that desperately needs to confront its racist past.
“In her [Senfft’s] estimation, even now, the Nazis have been “othered,” as if the evil hadn’t taken root in Germans’ own families and neighborhoods. Those who did confront the crimes of their ancestors could not have been prepared for what that realization would feel like… In American textbooks and schools and families, the same phenomenon that Senfft described of Nazism is true.”
This article addresses the transgenerational consequences of the Second World War and the Holocaust for the descendants of the Nazi perpetrators and bystanders. Using the example of her own family, the author traces the external obstacles and the psychological difficulties arising from working through a legacy of crime, compounded by the fact that an atmosphere of taboos, silence and denial has persisted within German families – in spite of all the research and enlightenment in the academic and political spheres. The author argues that the patterns of feeling, thinking and action are often passed down when they are not scrutinised. Meaningful dialogues with the survivors and their descendants, as well as authentic remembrance, the author claims, can only take place if descendants of the victimisers break away from those generationally transmitted narratives which continue to evade the entire truth about the crimes committed by the Nazis and their accomplices in Europe. European Judaism, Volume 53, September 2020 >> read/purchase
Anna Ornstein est née en Hongrie, en 1927. En 1944, elle a été déportée à Auschwitz avec ses parents et sa grand-mère de 96 ans. Elle témoigne de son expérience et s’interroge sur ce que nous pouvons en penser alors que l’idéologie d’extrême-droite se répand de nouveau sur le monde. Par Alexandra Senfft >> lire