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Alain Goldschläger

Dr. Alain Goldschlager: Antisemitism at the very core of the violence that exploded during centuries of pogroms and the Shoah [Holocaust]

by Dr. Alain Goldschläger, posted May 14, 2012


[Editor's note: Following Dr. Adam Muller's presentation at the Berney Theatre  during  Holocaust Awareness Week, The Winnipeg Jewish Review asked Dr. Alain Goldschläger,Chair, National Task Force on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research whether in his view antisemitism was the central cause of the Holocaust or not. ]

Dr Goldschlager's relatively short response, in my view, is devastating for Dr. Muller's position that antisemitism is not the central or primary cause of the Holocaust.The  following is Dr Goldshlager's response:

Xavier Vallat, Minister of Jewish Affairs in the Vichy government of Marshall Petain said to the highest military authority of the Third Reich in Paris:  " Regarding antisemitism, we have no lessons to take from you, quite the contrary, we could give you some." Truly, in these words, he was singling out the heart and the depth of the hate they shared against Jews.  Indeed, without antisemitism at the epicenter, no explanation could come even close to explain the Shoah [Holocaust]. Twenty centuries of that multifaceted hatred for the wandering and discriminated people has vividly lived. It may have been, according to the time or circumstances, that antisemitism was combined with other forms of resentment, but antisemitism remains at the very core of the violence that exploded during centuries of pogroms and the Shoah [Holocaust].


 All the survivors had one hope when leaving the death camps and the ghettos; that their tragic ordeal would mark the death of antisemitism. This is the deeper sense of the words “Never Again”. They knew the true cause of their suffering for having experienced martyrdom and having been mortified in their flesh and spirit. Trying today to rephrase their narrative is indeed an indecent act [emphasis added]

With the abuse of the word antizionism for instance, we see today the poorly dissimulated true nature of the feeling towards Jews. Playing on words and concepts, one can attempt to diminish or denigrate the foundation of the Shoah by introducing rhetorical distinguos or narrative subtle distinctions. Let’s not allow a linguistic manipulation to blur the reality and question the motivation at the heart of the attempt to destroy and annihilate European Jewry: Antisemitism [emphasis added].

Alain Goldschläger is currently the Director of the Holocaust Literature Research Institute (HLRI), institute he founded in 1996. He is also a member of several prestigious research groups in Canada. He was the president of the Canadian Semiotic Association (1981–1983)while being one if its founder members in 1971, president of the Canadian Comparative Literature Association(1985–1987)and a distinguished member of the Canadian Federation for the Humanities (1981–1988). Director of the Canada-Israël Foundation for Academic Exchanges (1988–2003), since 2004 he has also been president of the League for Human Rights of B'Nai Brith, Ontario. Alain Goldschläger played an important role in the creation of the General Romeo Dallaire Summer Institute on the teaching of the Holocaust and Genocide where he taught for three years (2004–2006). He was also a member of the Canadian Commission of UNESCO including the sub-Committee on Culture the sub-Committee on the Status of Women. Since 2009 he is Chair of The National Task Force on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research[1][2] as well as the Canadian Delegate to the International Task Force on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research (Oslo 2009) and Canadian Delegate to the Holocaust Era Assets Conference (Prague 2009)..
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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