“You must teach us about living!”: an exploration of the problem of ‘living’, in Holocaust education

Pattle, Annabel (2019) “You must teach us about living!”: an exploration of the problem of ‘living’, in Holocaust education. MA(Res) thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Holocaust Education is an education of crisis. The Holocaust is unrepresentable and incomprehensible therefore to speak of a Holocaust ‘education’ is to speak within a paradox.

The Holocaust exists within a rupture and a void and thus our education of it can only be an encounter with this void. This is an essentially traumatic and shattering encounter that not only ruptures previous conceptions of intellectual thought, also ruptures our very living. The student’s understanding of humanity and belonging to the world is profoundly challenged to the point of corruption. However, in some cases, the Holocaust’s traumatic power goes deeper than this and the student feels that their own sense of living and being-in-the-world is shattered. Living itself becomes a crisis and a problem. The issue for Holocaust Education then becomes less about how the Holocaust is to be approached and presented, and more how the student is to go-on living after the Holocaust.

Emil Fackenheim and Jacques Derrida present us with the problem of living after the Holocaust. However, rather than leaving life as something lost to the nihilistic power of the Holocaust, life is declared as both question and answer: we are to live, nay survive, after the Holocaust! Nevertheless, it is a life that is radically changed and therefore must be rediscovered and relearned within our Holocaust encounter. Consequently, Holocaust Education becomes an enabling trauma and an informative crisis; we must step into the void in order to step out of it. However, the question remains how this living is to exist and how we are to enter into this renewed living. Emmanuel Levinas implores us to turn towards the life of our Other and arguably this is where we can begin to rediscover life after the Holocaust. Indeed, it is within the Other that Holocaust Education can turn its students to life.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (MA(Res))
Supervisors: Bielik-Robson, Agata
Van der Wiele, Tarah
Keywords: Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945); Holocaust education
Subjects: D History - General and Old World > D History (General)
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of Humanities
Item ID: 57016
Depositing User: Pattle, Annabel
Date Deposited: 24 Mar 2020 14:51
Last Modified: 06 May 2020 09:33
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/57016

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