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Aversion and ErasureThe Fate of the Victim After the Holocaust$
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Carolyn J. Dean

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449444

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449444.001.0001

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French Discourses on Exorbitant Jewish Memory

French Discourses on Exorbitant Jewish Memory

(p.58) 2 French Discourses on Exorbitant Jewish Memory
Aversion and Erasure

Carolyn J. Dean

Cornell University Press

This chapter discusses the general effort of French intellectuals after the 1980s to define victims and the experience of victimization in a new cultural context. Among many scholars and critics in France, Jews, the particularity of whose sufferings under the Vichy regime and in the Holocaust were only belatedly recognized, have been increasingly associated with victims and a hyperbolic rhetoric of victimization. The sustained attention paid in the last two decades both to Vichy's crimes against Jews and to the Holocaust itself in speeches, commemorative rituals, trials, and television shows led not only to an association of Jewish identity with collective injury, but also, to a French backlash against too much Jewish memory. French journalist and writer Nicolas Weill uses the term “Holocaust Fatigue” to describe the same phenomenon, and views it as the “probable cause” of public apathy when anti-Semitism allegedly resurged in France between 2000 and 2002.

Keywords:   Holocaust victims, Jews, victimhood, French intellectuals, Vichy, Jewish identity, collective injury, Jewish memory, public apathy, anti-Semitism

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