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.
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.