Reluctant Witnesses: Survivors, Their Children, and the Rise of Holocaust Consciousness by Arlene SteinReluctant Witnesses: Survivors, Their Children, and the Rise of Holocaust Consciousness by Arlene Stein

Reluctant Witnesses: Survivors, Their Children, and the Rise of Holocaust Consciousness

byArlene Stein

Paperback | July 15, 2016

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Americans now learn about the Holocaust in high school, watch films about it on television, and visit museums dedicated to preserving its memory. But for the first two decades following the end of World War II, discussion of the destruction of European Jewry was largely absent from Americanculture and the tragedy of the Holocaust was generally seen as irrelevant to non-Jewish Americans.Today, the Holocaust is widely recognized as a universal moral touchstone. In Reluctant Witnesses, sociologist Arlene Stein - herself the daughter of a Holocaust survivor - mixes memoir, history, and sociological analysis to tell the story of the rise of Holocaust consciousness in the United Statesfrom the perspective of survivors and their descendants. If survivors tended to see Holocaust storytelling as mainly a private affair, their children - who reached adulthood during the heyday of identity politics - reclaimed their hidden family histories and transformed them into public stories.Reluctant Witnesses documents how a group of people who had previously been unrecognized and misunderstood managed to find its voice. It tells this story in relation to the changing status of trauma and victimhood in American culture. At a time when a sense of Holocaust fatigue seems to be settingin and when the remaining survivors are at the end of their lives, it affirms that confronting traumatic memories and catastrophic histories can help us make our world mean something beyond ourselves.
Arlene Stein is Professor of Sociology at Rutgers and the author of three books about American culture and gender politics. Her previous works include The Stranger Next Door, which won the Ruth Benedict Prize, and Sex and Sensibility. Her writing has appeared in The Nation, The Forward, and Jacobin, among other publications.
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Title:Reluctant Witnesses: Survivors, Their Children, and the Rise of Holocaust ConsciousnessFormat:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.68 inPublished:July 15, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190624604

ISBN - 13:9780190624606

Reviews

Editorial Reviews

"Beautifully and clearly written, Reluctant Witness presents the challenges and complexities of Holocaust remembrance through interpretive history, interviews with survivors, and the author's own stories of her life as a child of survivors. The brilliance of this book is how it painstakinglytraces the distinct time periods in which attitudes shifted. Anyone interested in this topic should read this incisive and wise analysis in this outstanding volume." --New Jersey Jewish News