Understanding the Pain of Others:
The Holocaust, the Nakba und German Memory Culture
Chair: Susan Neiman, Potsdam
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.