Dan Michman, "Shoah, Churbn, Cataclysm, Judeocide, Holocaust, Genocide (and More): On Terminology and Interpretation"

Elizabeth and Tony Comper Holocaust Education Fund

Why do we nowadays use the terms “Holocaust” and “Shoah,” though initially—and later—a host of other terms were used or proposed? 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, the changes of semantics, the impact of historical processes, and ideological stances on the use of terminology—and the consequences regarding historical interpretation.

Dan Michman is Head of the International Institute for Holocaust Research and Incumbent of the John Najmann Chair of Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem. Learn more.

Presented by Chancellor Rose and Ray Wolfe Chair in Holocaust Studies, Department of History, and Centre for Jewish Studies

Date & Time
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - 3:00pm

Sidney Smith Hall, Natalie Zemon Davis Conference Room (2098),100 St. George Street