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 Romania to Holocaust survivor parents, Dr. Gabriel Mayer reached the US, after his family escaped Communism, reaching Italy, and as refugees, was supported by the Jewish Agency. He grew up in New York and attended college and medical school in Boston, at Boston University. He spent the first half of his working life as a medical doctor, professor, clinician and researcher in the USA [Professorships at University of Florida and Boston University medical schools]. A distinguished accomplishment of Dr. Mayer and his team was the introduction of thrombolytic therapy to treat acute myocardial infarction; this was the first team in the world to publish research based on clinical work. These procedures have lasted until the present and have saved millions of lives. In 2013 he began his studies at the University of Haifa, earning back-to-back MA degrees in Holocaust Studies and Israel Studies. Currently, he is focused on Judaism, and Jewish personhood/peoplehood and the Diaspora and Israeli discourse as driven by academic and philanthropical energies. For two years (2015 & 2016) he served as Head Historian of Martef Hashoa Museum, Jerusalem.