Presentation Title

Holocaust Autobiography as Revisionist History

Presenter Information

David ZimmermanFollow

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Joan Wines

Start Date

17-11-2018 9:45 AM

End Date

17-11-2018 10:00 AM

Location

C308

Session

Oral 2

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

humanities_letters

Abstract

David Zimmerman

Dr. Joan Wines

Holocaust Autobiography as Revisionist History

Many of the distorted histories of the holocaust have their origins in the Nazi strategy that began in 1933 with Joseph Goebbels’ massive propaganda campaign--a campaign that was effective partly because widespread anti-Semitism had long been ingrained in communities throughout Europe. The German economic crisis of 1923 had already triggered an aggressive new wave of anti-Semitism throughout Europe, and Goebbels’ depictions of the Jewish people as greedy, cowardly, and physically inferior were willingly accepted by many. These distorted assessments of the Jewish people, along with the lies about the German government’s policies, found their way into many historical accounts of the holocaust. However, the autobiographical literature of its victims nullified the inaccuracies in these records and created, in effect, a revisionist history based on eye witness experience. When Elie Wiesel, Eva Kor, Anne Frank, Wladyslaw Szpilman, and others documented their personal experiences, they did more than expose the falsehoods about the nature of the Holocaust perpetrated by the German government. Their texts also reveal much about the Jewish character that gives the lie to the propagandists’ harsh descriptions of the Jewish people. In Night,Elie Wiesel shows clearly how the characterization of greed is inaccurate. Anne Frank’s diary reveals the tremendous courage of a young girl in the face of Nazi aggression, disproving the propaganda stereotype of Jews as cowards. Wladyslaw Szpilman’s The Pianist, another autobiographical account of the Holocaust, further disproves the gross mischaracterization of Jews as cowardly, while the literature of Eva Kor successfully challenges the claim that Jewish people are physically inferior. Like other autobiographies of holocaust victims, these texts have not only rectified distorted historical narratives, but have made obvious the fallacious nature of ethnic stereotypes as well.

Summary of research results to be presented

This purpose of this abstract is to show how the Nazi party tried to re-write history by imposing both an anti-Semitic and distorted historical narrative, that was fortunately disproven by the evidence put forth by the holocaust's countless victims. Victims such as Elie Wiesel, Anne Frank, Wladyslaw Szpilman, and Eva Kor documented their own personal stories and experiences so that people would not be able to dispute the horrendous events that took place at the hands of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party.

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Nov 17th, 9:45 AM Nov 17th, 10:00 AM

Holocaust Autobiography as Revisionist History

C308

David Zimmerman

Dr. Joan Wines

Holocaust Autobiography as Revisionist History

Many of the distorted histories of the holocaust have their origins in the Nazi strategy that began in 1933 with Joseph Goebbels’ massive propaganda campaign--a campaign that was effective partly because widespread anti-Semitism had long been ingrained in communities throughout Europe. The German economic crisis of 1923 had already triggered an aggressive new wave of anti-Semitism throughout Europe, and Goebbels’ depictions of the Jewish people as greedy, cowardly, and physically inferior were willingly accepted by many. These distorted assessments of the Jewish people, along with the lies about the German government’s policies, found their way into many historical accounts of the holocaust. However, the autobiographical literature of its victims nullified the inaccuracies in these records and created, in effect, a revisionist history based on eye witness experience. When Elie Wiesel, Eva Kor, Anne Frank, Wladyslaw Szpilman, and others documented their personal experiences, they did more than expose the falsehoods about the nature of the Holocaust perpetrated by the German government. Their texts also reveal much about the Jewish character that gives the lie to the propagandists’ harsh descriptions of the Jewish people. In Night,Elie Wiesel shows clearly how the characterization of greed is inaccurate. Anne Frank’s diary reveals the tremendous courage of a young girl in the face of Nazi aggression, disproving the propaganda stereotype of Jews as cowards. Wladyslaw Szpilman’s The Pianist, another autobiographical account of the Holocaust, further disproves the gross mischaracterization of Jews as cowardly, while the literature of Eva Kor successfully challenges the claim that Jewish people are physically inferior. Like other autobiographies of holocaust victims, these texts have not only rectified distorted historical narratives, but have made obvious the fallacious nature of ethnic stereotypes as well.