chapter  8
Authoritarianism and the making of post-Holocaust personality studies
ByMichael E. Staub
Pages 12

It can no longer be considered noteworthy to argue that in the aftermath of the Second World War there was no special silence in the United States surrounding the events which came eventually to be known as the Holocaust. The myth that there was silence has been undermined by Jewish studies scholarship for more than a decade, as scholars have documented how the Holocaust almost immediately earned a prominent place in American (and American Jewish) discussions and debates. In 1997, Stuart Svonkin observed how Jewish professionals active in the intergroup relations agencies (like the American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Congress, and Anti-Defamation League) “were profoundly influenced by the cataclysmic events of the 1930s and 1940s,” and that “the Holocaust, as it eventually came to be known, was arguably the touchstone of their identities as Jews.”1 In 1999, in a study of the Holocaust on American television, Jeffrey Shandler wrote that

although generally characterized as a period of American Jewish silence on the Holocaust, the immediate postwar years saw a considerable amount of activity in response to this as-yet-unnamed subject: pioneering historical scholarship, the writing of the first of hundreds of personal and communal memoirs, the establishment of the earliest memorials.2