Cite: Burstein, Performing Holocaust Memory: Judd Ne’eman’s Zitra

Burstein, Janet Handler. "Performing Holocaust Memory: Judd Ne’eman’s Zitra." AJS Review 36.2 (2012): 323-36.

 

URL: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=8749266

Abstract

Memory and its representations can reveal as much about a culture’s sense of itself as they do about its past. Israeli critics have traced the ways in which representations of the Holocaust in their country’s films reflect, among many other issues, Israeli culture’s preoccupation with the construction of Israeli identity. According to one critic, the Holocaust survivor in films of the 1940s and 1950s embodied weakness and passivity: “all the traits that Israeli identity [was] meant to contrast.” In the 1970s, another critic suggests, films “read” the Holocaust from a “nationalist perspective…highlighting heroic resistance….” Thus, within a few decades, Israeli cinema seems to have represented in radically different ways—through the lens of the Holocaust—the intricacies of Israeli identity formation: first, by shaping memory in terms of the putative weaknesses of diaspora Jews, contrasting them with the strengths of the “new” Israeli Jew; and later, by emphasizing characteristics that linked heroic resisters with heroic Israelis.

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