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But There Was Love: Shaping the Memory of the Shoah (in Hebrew)

Editors: Michal Govrin, Dana Freibach-Heifetz, Etty BenZaken

Aval Hitah Sham Ahava: Itzuv Zichron HaShoah | Carmel Publishing House, Jerusalem, 2021 | The publication was made possible thanks to: The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute; Levin Art Community & Culture; Shalom Hartman Institute

What is the role of the memory of the Shoah in the face of a changing present? How can we shape it as a social responsibility and a personal commitment? And what is Jewish memory? Eight decades after World War II, as the generation of survivors dwindles, the question of how to pass on the memory of the Shoah to future generations intensifies. The echoes of the Shoah continue to haunt humanity and the debate over the narrative of memory continues.

A research group at the Van Leer Institute, led by Michal Govrin, addressed these issues. Artists, historians, philosophers, neuroscientists and scholars of psychoanalysis, literature and film, from three generations and from different backgrounds, formed a community, sharing their professional insights as well as their personal stories. They discussed the many manifestations of the trauma and the ways in which it is constructed. How to remember without succumbing to victimhood? How to merge the ‘responsibility to remember’ with ‘remembering with responsibility’? Their ground-breaking insights have also led to the creation of the “Gathering for the Holocaust Remembrance Day,” which since 2017 has been led by the Shalom Hartman Institute.

This book brings the fruits of research in a variety of voices and genres, while exposing the tension between the collective memory and the sediments of private memory. This is an invitation to every reader to add his or her own personal voice and take an active part in shaping the memory of the Shoah as a moral, social and personal responsibility – and as a call for life.

Journals from the ‘Young Yiddish’ Center in the exhibition “What is memory? 70 years after”, Polonsky Building, Van Leer Institute, Jerusalem, 2015 | A photograph from the book

Contributors/Editors (Brief titles, in the order of their contributions):

Prof. Michal Govrin: Writer, poet, theatre director and researcher; Dr. Dana Freibach-Heifetz: Philosopher, Writer, therapist; Etty BenZaken: Voice Artist and Interdisciplinary creator; Prof. Aharon Appelfeld, (late) Writer; Prof. Saul Friedlander, Holocaust Historian; Prof. Otto Dov Kulka, (late) Holocaust Historian; Prof. Yolanda Gampel, Psychanalyste; Orit Livne, Painter; Prof. Eli Vakil, Neuropsychologue; Yehudit Kol-Inbar, Yad VaShem Curator; Prof. Dana Arieli, Historian and photographer; Gary Goldstein, Painter; Mendy Cahan, Singer, Actor, Founder of Yung Yiddish; Prof. Ron Margolin, Scholar of Modern Jewish Philosophy; Dr.Yochi Fischer, Historian; Dr. Michal Aharony, Historian; Dr. Michal Ben-Naftali, Philosopher and Writer; Prof. Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan, Narratologue; Dr. Rina Dudai, Literary Scholar; Meir Appelfeld, Painter; Prof. Eitan Steinberg, Composer; Prof. Raya Morag, Cinema Scholar; Dr. Odeya Kohen-Raz, Cinema Scholar; Dr. Sandra Meiri, Cinema Scholar; Aliza Auerbach (late), Photographer; Dr. Rabbi, Rani Jaeger, Scholar of Israel Culture; Dr. Mali Eisenberg, Historian

Zeev Birger in a photograph by Aliza Orbach, from Survivors | A photograph from the book