chapter
4 Pages

Introduction

The Holocaust is an historical event and as such it continues to exist in memory, landmarks, artifacts, museums, archives, documents, studies, interviews, literary works, and films. Many survivors, scholars and concerned people insist that we must never forget what happened so that we may continue to affirm the collective memory and also to avoid a repetition. At the same time, it is equally important to refuse to popularize the Holocaust by turning it into an icon for visual or verbal articulation through gratuitous overviews, studies, commercial films and museum displays. The Holocaust and its continuing impact is, of course, not to be considered merely as material for just another dissertation, academic promotion or cinematic epic. It is an event that resean:~hers need to plumb deeply in order toexplain aspects of western culture that we often choose to keep hidden from ourselves. Herbert Hirsch insists that applying strict "scientific" methodologies to the study of genocide trivializes human memory: method replaces substance, the empirical replaces the emotional, and quantification replaces qualitative discussion (74, 77).