By Johannes Heuman
Paris used to be domestic to 1 of the main eu projects to record and commemorate the Holocaust, the Centre de documentation juive contemporaine . by means of analysing the earliest Holocaust narratives and their reception in France, this learn offers a brand new realizing of the institutional improvement of Holocaust remembrance in France after the conflict.
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Additional resources for The Holocaust and French Historical Culture, 1945–65
24 Similar explications were to be heard after the fall of the Vichy regime both outside and within the Jewish community. Paradoxically, the relative silence on French anti-Semitism was also connected to tolerance and openness: the Dreyfus Affair was a blow to France as a nation, since the Republic did not recognise any differences among its citizens. In his famous open letter, Émile Zola defended Dreyfus as a member of the nation and not as a Jew: his Jewishness was not to be the basis for political activism, as that would merely pander to the claims of the extreme right.
An exponent of the ‘republicanisation’ in the sphere of historical culture was the historian Ernest Lavisse. He constructed the grand narrative of the nation at the end of nineteenth century and proceeded to dominate the educational system. Objectivity and nationalism were not considered mutually exclusive in this form of historical writing, inspired as it was by positivism. Lavisse’s school textbooks became something of a pedagogical tool of republicanism. 11 The Jews did not have a prominent role in these kinds of historical narratives, and this was particularly the case with history textbooks.
2 French–Jewish Relations and Historical Culture The construction of Holocaust history did not begin from scratch in post-war Europe. Attitudes towards the recent past were formed by both contemporary politics and more persistent political and cultural trends shaped over a long time. Such deep structures, embedded in cultural frameworks, go some way to explain why the significance and meaning of the Holocaust has varied from one nation to another and why it has sparked such different responses.
The Holocaust and French Historical Culture, 1945–65 by Johannes Heuman