Roni Mikel-Arieli

Mar 28, 2023

Remembering the Holocaust in a Racial State

Holocaust Memory in South Africa from Apartheid to Democracy (1948-1994)

Walter de Gruyter 2022

The lens of apartheid-era Jewish commemorations of the Holocaust in South Africa reveals the fascinating transformation of a diasporic community. Through the prism of Holocaust memory, Roni Mikel-Arieli's Remembering the Holocaust in a Racial State: Holocaust Memory in South Africa from Apartheid to Democracy (1948-1994) (de Gruyter, 2022) examines South African Jewry and its ambivalent position as a minority within the privileged white minority. Grounded in research in over a dozen archives, the book provides a rich empirical account of the centrality of Holocaust memorialization to the community's ongoing struggle against global and local antisemitism. Most of the chapters focus on white perceptions of the Holocaust and reveals the tensions between the white communities in the country regarding the place of collective memories of suffering in the public arena. However, the book also moves beyond an insular focus on the South African Jewish community and in very different modality investigates prominent figures in the anti-apartheid struggle and the role of Holocaust memory in their fascinating journeys towards freedom.

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Ari Barbalat holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of California in Los Angeles. He lives in Toronto with his family.

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