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Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission


“‘Jewish Resisters, Though’: Why There Has Been Reluctance to Apply ‘Upstander’ Label to Jews in the Holocaust”

Event details
Calendar   Speaking Engagements
Location San Antonio Library lgo branch library
Date Fri, Jan 12, 10:00am - 11:30am
Duration   1h 30m

THGAAC State Coordinator of Education Dr. J.E. Wolfson will speak at a San Antonio library on “‘Jewish Resisters, Though’: Why There Has Been Reluctance to Apply the ‘Upstander’ Label to Jews in the Holocaust”.

In a lengthy April 2023 article in The Atlantic, author Dara Horn analyzes the trend in Holocaust education of labeling certain individuals as “upstanders” due to their bravery and heroism, pointedly noting that Jews are typically ignored whenever this classification is applied. A large proportion of museum exhibits and popular films and literature on the Holocaust elect to spotlight and applaud the actions of “Righteous Gentiles” who rescued Jews, but not the actions of Jews themselves. What might explain this longstanding tunnel vision or the fact that so few people have even chosen to question it? This presentation will offer answers to that question and will examine fascinating case studies of Jews who resisted the Nazi assault and continue to complicate popularly accepted notions of heroism and martyrdom. Dr. Wolfson suggests that the tendency to privilege stories of non-Jewish rescue of Jews over Jewish resistance reveals much about how our culture has sought to define and remember the Holocaust. We cannot approach a fuller understanding of Holocaust history without acknowledging the challenges, suffering, courage, and selflessness that helped shape Jewish resistance.

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