Hasia R. Diner
Hasia R. Diner
Image: Penn State

Lecture on Holocaust ‘forgetfulness’ November 12

Acclaimed scholar Hasia R. Diner brings her quest to dismantle the idea of American Jewish “forgetfulness” regarding the Holocaust to Penn State Harrisburg November 12. Diner’s free public presentation in the Gallery Lounge begins at noon. For information, phone 717-948-6039.

The Paul S. And Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History at New York University, Diner contends her newest literary effort, We Remember With Reverence and Love: American Jews and the Myth of Silence After the Holocaust, 1945-1962 “is one that I should have not had to write.”

She adds, “Those who created the myth of silence have been blinded by their political agendas to the grass roots, experimental, spontaneous process by which text by text, artifact by artifact, and deed by deed American Jews of the postwar years made themselves the custodians of the memory of the Holocaust and made it a powerful element in their communal culture.”

The author of 10 previous books which were the result of some historical puzzle, Diner’s states We Remember “had a very different birth.” She says, “My decision to embark on it came from the fact that American and American Jewish historians, as well as journalists, and public intellectuals, among others, have been involved for several decades now in the construction and dissemination of a false history about American Jews in the post-World War II years and their relationship to the Holocaust.”

Described as a scholar dogged in her research to counter the so-called myth of Jewish silence, Diner asserts that much of American Jewish history and public affairs needs to be understood in the context of the Holocaust.  “There was no silence about the Holocaust. Discussion, programming, and indeed activism of and about the Holocaust were the reality from early on, right after World War II,” she says.

Diner’s presentation is hosted by the Center for Holocaust and Jewish Studies at Penn State Harrisburg, working to bring people from the midstate and the University together in a common interest of remembering and teaching the Holocaust and Jewish studies.