Dan Michman: Shoah, Churbn, Cataclysm, Judeocide, Holocaust, Genocide (and More)

On Terminology and Interpretation

Simon Wiesenthal Lecture, 23. Oktober 2014


Why do we nowadays use the terms 'Holocaust' and 'Shoah', although a host of other terms were used or proposed both initially and later on? What do these terms mean, where did they originate, and what do they designate? Are they synonyms or do their semantic fields differ? Are they legitimate or not? Why is there a competition between them (and with others)? And what have literature and the film industry to do with their dissemination? In short: do we indeed know what we mean when we speak about 'the Holocaust'? In this talk an attempt will be made to understand the complicated links between discourses of survivors and scholars, semantic changes, the impact of historical processes, ideological stances on the use of terminology – and the consequences regarding historical interpretation.


Dan Michman is Professor of Modern Jewish History and Chair of the Finkler Institute of Holocaust Research at Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan and also serves as Head of the International Institute of Holocaust Research and Incumbent of the John Najmann Chair in Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem. Born in Amsterdam, he emigrated to Israel and studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, from where he received his PhD in 1978 with a thesis titled The Jewish Refugees from Germany in The Netherlands, 1933-1940. His numerable publications in many languages include Die Historiographie der Shoah aus jüdischer Sicht: Konzeptualisierungen, Terminologie, Anschauungen, Grundfragen (2002) and The Emergence of Jewish Ghettos During the Holocaust (2011).




Veranstaltet vom Wiener Wiesenthal Institut für Holocaust-Studien (VWI)in Kooperation mit dem Österreichischen Staatsarchiv, dem Institut für Zeitgeschichte der Universität Wien und dem DÖW



Donnerstag, 23. Oktober 2014, 18-30 bis 20.00 Uhr



Dachfoyer des Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchivs, Minoritenplatz 1, 1010 Wien



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