Review of In the Shadow of the Holocaust: The Struggle Between Jews and Zionists in the Aftermath of World War II by Yosef Grodzinsky. Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2004. First published in the Journal of Palestine Studies, winter 2006.
Perhaps the most preeminent advocate of Holocaust remembrance in the United States, Elie Wiesel has long held that the sacred memory of the murdered Jewish millions ought not to be sullied by base, partisan political concerns. He held to this putatively apolitical view even when he was the leader of the process that led to the establishment of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
In this English version of an earlier work published in Hebrew, Yosef Grodzinsky shows how early on, Zionist politics collided with the needs of Holocaust survivors, those Jews who were gathered in Displaced Persons (DP) camps after World War II in Germany, Austria, and Italy. For the author, a professor at Tel Aviv University, this is not simply a detached work of scholarship; rather, it is a personal response to and revision of the way he was raised as a youth in Israel: “We were told that virtually all the survivor DPs immigrated to Palestine/Israel, after a courageous struggle against the British. Those who joined the army, we were told, registered for the draft upon their arrival in Palestine; we were also told that refugees and survivors arrived in Palestine eagerly, ready to join the forming Israeli society and assist in the war effort. But the real story was kept from us” (p. 231). Read the rest of this entry »