Resisters after the fact

In the restored societies emerging from Nazi occupation, memories of defeat and victimization were set aside in favor of intensive, state-sponsored cults of heroism and resistance. In ravaged and humiliated societies burdened with the task of national revival, the mobilizing power of the myth of active heroism was undeniably greater than that of victimization. Above all, memories of victimization bore the troublesome particularism associated with the Jewish minority. Jewish particularistic suffering was integrated into an all-national paradigm of victimization and in some cases transformed into one of triumphant heroism.

—Amir Weiner, “When Memory Counts: War, Genocide, and Postwar Soviet Jewry,” in Crimes of War: Guilt and Denial in the Twentieth Century, Bartov, Grossmann, Nolan eds., (New York: The New Press, 2002), 212.

Bookmark the permalink.