In the cinematic world, the representation of the Holocaust began with the Third Reich's propaganda films and the footage taken by the Allies at liberated concentration camps. In the early postwar period, European filmmakers exaggerated resistance against Nazi Germany's policies and obscured the specificity of Jewish victimization, while Hollywood avoided the topic, allegedly because it was too depressing and parochial. The NBC miniseries Holocaust (1978) and Claude Lanzmann's documentary Shoah (1985) shattered these patterns, and Schindler's List (1993) and Life Is Beautiful (1997) stimulated a second round of Holocaust-related cinema and scholarship on it, along with considerable controversy. This article shows that studies of Holocaust films made in particular nations have been a staple of research in the field, but that scholarship has shifted since 2000 toward analysis of the cinematic qualities of Holocaust-related film, the impact of globalization, comparisons with portrayals of other genocides, and the use of film in Holocaust education.
This article shows that German government offices and private diarists and correspondents kept widely scattered but extensive records of the unfolding of the ‘Final Solution’. Anti-Jewish legislation ensured that the paper trails of persecution ran to the far corners of the German bureaucracy. Moreover, the perpetrators of anti-Jewish actions at the local and national level commemorated their deeds, in effect preparing initial drafts for a victorious history of the destruction of Jewish life. Private diaries and letters not only confirm the widespread knowledge that Germans came to share about the ‘Final Solution’, but also the process by which many of them came to endorse cruelty toward Jews.
Barry J. Leff
This chapter discusses the Jewish approach to business ethics. It first identifies several fundamental principles of Jewish business ethics, and then applies them to several common issues in business ethics: fraud, anti-competitive behaviour, theft (including theft of intellectual property), deception, kick-backs, and contract negotiation and interpretation. Next, the chapter discusses a number of concrete examples where Jewish sources have much to tell us about how to conduct business morally. It is shown that the Jewish approach to business ethics does not impose one-sided support for any particular group (employers vs. employees, individuals vs. society), but rather is an attempt to find a nuanced balance between competing interests so that the final conclusion represents a solution recognized as just.
This article argues that the Holocaust not only has become a mainstay of Jewish culture but also has engendered an array of cultural practices across the spectrum of Jewish ideological and geographical diversity. At the same time, the subject has prompted debates over the nature — or even the possibility — of ‘proper’ Holocaust remembrance. Jewish culture is engaged in forging new, definitional narratives of Jewish experience that respond to the Holocaust, and in establishing new cultural practices of Holocaust remembrance. Some of these rest on precedents for Jewish responses to calamity and others on the influence of new authorities, notably Holocaust survivors. Implicated in this discovery process are new forms of engagement between Jews and other religious and national groups, especially as Jews consider the implications of the wide embrace of Holocaust remembrance beyond their own communities, where it often figures as a master moral paradigm.
This article describes folklore as a unique form of cultural creativity and expression and discusses Jewish folklore through the ages and the scholarship of Jewish folklore. Folklore is a form of creativity and expression that exists in all the cultures we know. It is characterized by its qualities of collectivity and tradition, by its oral mode of expression, and usually by anonymity. Folklore is created and transmitted among individuals and groups through all the audio-visual interpersonal channels of communication. The discussion offers remarks on the field of folkloristics, to facilitate the application of accepted general terminology to the survey of Jewish folklore. The collective aspect of folklore is expressed both in the immediate interaction established between performer and audience, and in the concept of authority and ownership of the work, that is considered as belonging to the group and not an individual.
Ahuva Belkin and Gad Kaynar
This article describes the history of the Jewish theatre, Jewish theatre studies, the history of the Israeli theatre from 1889 to 2001, and Israeli theatre studies. Although Jews were known as the People of the Book, and despite the very rich literature attached to Judaism, the dramatic genre never became an integral part of Jewish civilization, and theatre as an institution was never a part of its cultural life. This may be in part because the Bible and the book of oral law — the Talmud and later rabbinical writings — contain vehement exhortations against the theatre. In Judaism, jesters are identified with idleness and heresy. Meanwhile, the extent of performative activity in Israel is impressive for a country with no theatrical tradition and a population of merely 4.5 million Jewish and Hebrew-speaking inhabitants. Between 1970 and 1990, Israel held first place in the world in theatre attendance per capita.
Central to the ideology of Nazi imperialism was the joining of race and space. The ‘New Order’ the Nazis sought entailed a racial classification and ‘cleansing’ of Europe, especially its eastern reaches, which Nazi leaders envisioned as the ideal German ‘living space’ (Lebensraum). Yet between Hitler's utopian vision of the eastern territories as a ‘Garden of Eden’ and the implementation of the Holocaust and Nazi resettlement programs in Poland, the Baltic states, Belorussia, and Ukraine lay many gray areas. This article examines the interrelationship of Nazi expansionism, anti-Jewish policies, and schemes to resettle ethnic Germans (Volksdeutsche) in eastern Europe in an effort to assess the extent to which the history of the Shoah should be understood in the context of Nazi dreams and schemes of Lebensraum.
James E. Young
This article focuses on Holocaust memorial histories and debates in Germany, Poland, Israel, and the United States. Holocaust memorials and museums provide spaces and occasions that represent the Holocaust in their own distinctive ways. Public memorialization of the Holocaust era began early, with every affected group remembering its own fate. The more events of World War II and the Holocaust recede in time, the more prominent museums and memorials about them become. As survivors have struggled to bequeath memory of their experiences to the next generations and governments have sought to unify disparate polities with ‘common’ national narratives, a veritable ‘Holocaust memorial and museums boom’ has occurred. Since 1990, hundreds of museums and institutions have been established worldwide to remember and tell the history of Nazi Germany's destruction of the European Jews. Depending on who builds these memorials and museums and where, they recollect this past according to particular national myths, ideals, and political needs. At a more specific level, these museums also reflect the temper of the memory-artists' time, their architects' schools of design, and their physical locations in national memorial landscapes.