The Holocaust and the Intellectuals of the Fifties and Sixties

Michael L. Morgan

in Beyond Auschwitz

Published in print October 2001 | ISBN: 9780195148626
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199870011 | DOI:
The Holocaust and the Intellectuals of the Fifties and Sixties

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From 1945 to 1965, the Holocaust and the Nazi destruction of European Jewry came to occupy the attention of a small number of intellectuals whose work would have a significant impact on post‐Holocaust Jewish thought. One of the most important, Raul Hilberg, was a political scientist by training, but his work was primarily historical; The Destruction of the European Jews, which appeared in 1961, meticulously examined the destruction process, but this massive and detailed work was rarely read. The most influential books were those of Hannah Arendt, Elie Wiesel, and Primo Levi; these writers provided powerful, important views of the death camps and the Nazi horrors, and they also introduced modes of discourse for describing and discussing the crimes perpetrated, the criminals, and the victims. This chapter is primarily devoted to a study of Arendt's examination of Nazism and totalitarianism, published in articles in the 1940s, and culminating in her tremendously important hook, The Origins of Totalitarianism, in 1951; discussion of various critiques of her work is also included. The writings of Elie Wiesel and Primo Levi are discussed in the next chapter.

Keywords: Hannah Arendt; death camps; Holocaust; Jewish history; Nazism; totalitarianism

Chapter.  9789 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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