Bashir Bashir, Amos Goldberg, Charlotte Wiedemann
Understanding the Pain of Others
The Holocaust, the Nakba and German Memory Culture
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In her book Understanding the Pain of Others, the author Charlotte Wiedemann pleads for a new inclusive memory culture that promotes solidarity instead of competition among victims. Doing justice to the victims of colonial crimes and their descendants does not call into question the specificity of the Shoah. On the contrary: the importance of human rights for all is a central lesson from the Holocaust. But tragically, Holocaust memory has not brought us much closer to such universal values.
In their co-edited volume The Holocaust and the Nakba: A New Grammar of Trauma and History Amos Goldberg, Bashir Bashir, and the contributors to the volume explore the possibility of creating a shared language for discussing the memories of two entangled, but entirely different historical events: the genocide of European Jews and the displacement of Palestinians. At the center of this new language is the concept of empathic unsettlement which challenges the mutual denial of the suffering of the Other, recognizes the political asymmetries in Israel-Palestine, and gives rise to an egalitarian binationalism.
This debate was originally scheduled to take place in the Goethe Institute Tel Aviv but was cancelled due to political pressure.
Charlotte Wiedemann is a journalist and author. She has published numerous books on international topics, most recently Den Schmerz der Anderen begreifen. Holocaust und Weltgedächtnis (2022). Afflicted by silence in her own family, she has followed debates about German responsibility for National Socialism for four decades.
Bashir Bashir is associate professor of political theory at the Open University of Israel and senior research fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. His research interests are: democratic theory, nationalism and citizenship studies, liberalism, decolonization, and reconciliation. His most recent publication is The Arab and Jewish Questions: Geographies of Engagement in Palestine and Beyond (2020).
Amos Goldberg is associate professor of Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. For decades he has researched Holocaust memory at the intersection of history, critical theory, and literature. His publications include Trauma in First Person: Diary Writing during the Holocaust (2017) and his co-edited volume Marking Evil: Holocaust Memory in the Global Age (2015).