Manuela Consonni addresses the victim paradigm and the role it played in the transformation of Holocaust memory and in politics more generally. She reconstructs the paradigm's genealogy from the middle of the 20th century until the year 2000, before examining the memorial practices of the Shoah in the first decades of the 21st century and its implications for Jewish life. Consonni suggests that the emergence of the victim paradigm became the main factor to the surfacing of the memory's cult of the Shoah, sacralizing the Shoah and privileging of the Jewish victim. This had the effect of promoting the Jews as the “Other,” separating them from the experience of the many other persecuted social groups of the Nazis' European New Order. But framing Jews solely as victims had the effect of erasing pre- and post-war periods from Europe, with Jews becoming “symbols of persecution par excellence and of all those who have been driven from their homelands and defrauded of safe borders.” She argues that the establishment of the Holocaust Memorial Day was born out of “the need for greater understanding of the drivers of racism, discrimination, and unrestricted violence against civil populations whose race, religion, gender or sexuality were held to make their life worth less than others, but from the realization that pathological fears of ‘the other' were still running wild in Europe, the lesson which Srebrenica's ethnic cleansing taught the civilized world in 1995.” Consonni contends that there is both a moral and a practical need to abandon the victim paradigm.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2023 selection and editorial matter, Keren Eva Fraiman and Dean Phillip Bell; individual chapters, the contributors.