Gabriel Mayer

Changes in the Collective Memory of the Holocaust

The concept of Holocaust memory hails from a past process, which sought to define the existence of the Holocaust in the years succeeding the tragedy, in various forms of commemorative exercises. The Holocaust museums, commemorative sites, and annual commemorative events formed the hallmark of these exercises.

This post examines the nature of Holocaust Memory in the 21st Century and its relevancy as to public sentiment under current geopolitical realities. To begin with, it is a presupposition by the author that Holocaust shaped memory has shifted within world Jewry from what was at one time linked to variations of survivor testimonies and second and third generational syndromes toward newly embedded cultural sentiments that are related to a designed public memory, without linkage to specific events, people or places.

\Along with the shifting of Holocaust Memory the Israeli State narrative has developed alternative mythologization, that serves the nation-state by inserting the notion of military might. It is paramount that newly minted memory sets become identifiable and definable. A mixture of Jewish religiosity along with Israeli statehood ideology largely drives this morphing of memory. While seemingly disconnected from geographic boundaries, it is linked to political sentiments, which are surprisingly similar in Israel and the Diaspora, and are seen as trending along Right vs. Left ideologies. Not surprisingly, the current politically driven alliance between Trump and Netanyahu play to each other by usurping traditional academic discourse and set a path toward political expediency. The objective of future research should aim to inform the public about a current configuration of Holocaust Memory that has evolved rather recently and is currently poorly defined in academic and social discourse.

About the Author
Born in Cluj, Romania to Holocaust survivor parents, he and the family fled Communism at age 10 and lived as refugees in Italy for about a year. Arrived to USA at age 11 A graduate of Boston University Medical School, Dr. Mayer was the lead investigator and first author for a series of published research that introduced to the world peripheral thrombolytic therapy for myocardial infarction, a first-ever event. These procedures are commonplace today and have saved millions of lives. After years of work in the USA as a clinician, researcher, and professor he moved to Israel where he earned two back-to-back MA degrees from the University of Haifa: Holocaust Studies and Israel Studies. He continues to research and publish in the fields of identity and peoplehood as related to sociopolitical events with a concentration in museal studies and performative aspects of academic learning, i.e. experiential learning. His expertise in museal studies and Holocaust historiography resulted in him being named Head Historian at Martef Hashoah Museum in Jerusalem [2015-2018] In February 2018, according to, he was ranked in the top 1% of researchers worldwide As a way of introducing the whole picture, some other facts need mention. During 1989, Dr. Mayer returned to his native birthplace [Cluj, Romania] and was a prominent figure in the 1989 Romanian Revolution. He was for two decades an accomplished triathlete, competing at elite international levels. He competed in three World Triathlon Championships and completed multiple Ironman Triathlons in places ranging from China to New Zealand and Canada to Europe; in addition, a mention needs to be made of the 44 marathons he completed