chapter  16
Legacies: 1945 to the Present
Pages 26

How the Holocaust is remembered is its own field of study. This book’s final chapter samples ways in which Holocaust memory, postwar justice, and politics have intersected since 1945. Forgetting was the initial trend. Amid the war’s wreckage, non-Jews insisted that their own claims to memory be addressed first. The Cold War, which lasted from 1947 to 1989 and included Soviet control of eastern Europe, the division of Germany into two states, and the creation of rival European alliances, also created conditions for mass forgetting. In the immediate postwar years, Jews were alone in their understanding that the Holocaust was different than other wartime catastrophes, and even for Jews, the political needs of the new Israeli state affected memory. The rest of the world followed later, making its greatest strides in most recent years. Yet to this day and beyond, the memory of history’s greatest crime remain impossible to grasp fully. It is a wound in Jewish and world history that will never heal.