The Future of the Holocaust: Between History and Memory is a collection of philosophical essays written between 1990 and 1998 by Berel Lang, Professor of Humanities at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. In these essays, Lang explores some of the ideas that he touched upon in two of his earlier works, Act and Idea in the Nazi Genocide (1990) and Heidegger’s Silence (1996).
In this newest work, Lang is concerned with the “chains of causality” that led to the Holocaust and what he has termed “meta”-issues regarding the uneasy relation between history and memory, both contingent parts within a larger scope. He explores the multiple layers of how to interpret and represent the Holocaust in our time, from survivor interviews and museums to memorials. The past, Lang emphasizes, is not static or frozen in history--any current interpretation will influence future analysis. Conversely, future representations of the Holocaust might alter those of today. Furthermore, Lang argues that from an historical viewpoint, genocide, conceptualized and named in the aftermath of the Holocaust, will now always be a future possibility. This underscores the need to make history palpable, such as in a “memorial museum,” which demonstrates the interrelation between ethical ideals and historical fact.
In addition, Lang examines ethical issues revolving around the role of technology in genocide and potential omnicide, the breakdown of ethics in the Third Reich, forgiveness as reliving or revoking the past, forgiveness in the present, and the relationship between memory and revenge. He also discusses the symbolism of a divided Germany in the post-Holocaust era--and the implications for that symbolism in Germany’s reunification.
The Library always welcomes suggestions for acquisitions. While we cannot guarantee that we will acquire the recommended title, we do appreciate your input.
To make a recommendation, please fill out our Acquisition Suggestion Form.