Revenge and Justice: The Female Historians Who Are Guardians of Holocaust Memory

Historians in the News
tags: Holocaust



Rokhl Oyerbakh and Deborah Lipstadt, featured in two upcoming films, testify to the Jewish life and culture destroyed in WWII and challenge Holocaust denial, a depressingly renewed presence in American politics.

... Oyerbakh and Lipstadt — one a writer and public intellectual of the inter-war, European mold; the other an American born and trained historian — both found themselves at historic turning points. By dint of circumstance, talent and personal force of will, both rose to the task as guardians of memory, speaking, each in her own way, for the murdered.

The two historians also represent the two fronts of memory work left to postwar Jewry: one facing the outside world, refuting those who would deny the murder of European Jewry; the other facing inward, shaping how Jews would understand what had been destroyed, and how.

For the Oyneg Shabes members, history was to be “an antidote to a memory of a catastrophe which, however well intentioned, would subsume what had been into what had been destroyed.”

Lipstadt’s battle with David Irving made front-page news around the world, while Oyerbakh’s story is little known outside those who study Polish Jewry or the history of the Holocaust. ...




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