CLIO FINAL - page 19

the protagonist Tevye who states;’ “Heal us O Lord
and we shall be healed”. In other words: “send us
the cure we have the sickness already”’. The ‘Sick-
ness’ referenced in this quote can be interpreted as
a comment on the periodic scapegoating of Jewish
people, which was a persistent atrocity throughout
Russia in this period.
Arguably one of the most current and profound
impacts on Jewish culture has been the haunting
event of the Holocaust. With the loss of 6 million
Jews those who have survived have been left with
the burden of not only living life for themselves, but
equally for those who didn’t make it. Theologian
and Nobel Prize winner ElieWeisel speaks of the
transformative impact of the holocaust on Jewish
culture. In an interview with the NewYork Times
he stated: ‘if I survived, it must be for some reason.
I must do something with my life it is too serious
to play games with anymore, because in my place
someone else could have been saved. And so I
speak for that person, on the other hand I cannot.’
Weisel’s words act as a testimony for the future as
keep the memory of the Holocaust alive, in order to
prevent history repeating itself. It is quite rightly the
opinion of many that recording the holocaust is not
enough; in order to keep the memory alive it must
be talked about and discussed with the same sensi-
tivity and horror as if it had happened in this centu-
ry. Weisel infers this in his infamous piece ‘night’ in
which he comments: ”For the survivor who chooses
to testify, it is clear: his duty is to bear witness for
the dead and for the living…to forget the dead
would be akin to killing them a second time”.
As with all historical events there is a spec-
trum of reactions, many philosophers and political
thinkers were left so shocked by the events of the
holocaust that they made it their own personal
pilgrimage to find out how and why such horren-
dous events occurred. Philosopher Hannah Arendt
attempted to do exactly this, in her novel ‘origins of
totalitarianism’. Arendt’s philosophy is particularly
significant as she lived through the Nazi regime
and was detained by the Gestapo for collecting
evidence of anti-Semitic propaganda. She escaped
and fled to the US where she fist came into her
status of a ‘Jewish refugee’, as a result she began
and character?
events shaped
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