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Robert Fine and Philip Spencer

Antisemitism' presented the harmfulness of Jews no longer as a transitory and changeable characteristic but as the unalterable quality of their Jewishness. The rise of antisemitism posed specific problems for emergent Marxist movements after Karl Marx. The devaluing of cosmopolitanism and revaluing of the Jewish question combined to disfigure Marxist opposition to antisemitism and in some cases to make its own contribution to the antisemitic canon. While most Marxists had great difficulty in thinking about how Jews could be cast as such an enemy, it is seen that there were exceptions to develop a more critical and self-critical approach. The most significant contribution to the understanding of antisemitism from within the Marxist tradition, widely conceived, was that developed by Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno. Their work on antisemitism may usefully be read as an engagement with and critique of the Marxist orthodoxy.

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Antisemitism and the left

On the return of the Jewish question

Robert Fine and Philip Spencer

Universalism has acted as a stimulus for Jewish emancipation, that is, for civil, political and social inclusion. It has also been a source of anti-Jewish prejudice up to and beyond the classic antisemitism of the modern period. While the experience of Jews is by no means unique in this respect, one of the peculiarities of the 'anti-Judaic' tradition has been to represent Jews in some important regard as the 'other' of the universal: as the personification either of a particularism opposed to the universal, or of a false universalism concealing Jewish self-interest. The former contrasts the particularism of the Jews to the universality of bourgeois civil society. The latter contrasts the bad universalism of the 'rootless cosmopolitan Jew' to the good universalism of whatever universal is advanced: nation, race or class. This book explores debates over Jewish emancipation within the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, contrasting the work of two leading protagonists of Jewish emancipation: Christian von Dohm and Moses Mendelssohn. It discusses the emancipatory power of Karl Marx's critique of Bruno Bauer's opposition to Jewish emancipation and endorsement of The Jewish Question. Marxist debates over the growth of anti-Semitism; Hannah Arendt's critique of three types of Jewish responsiveness--assimilationism, Zionism and cosmopolitanism-- to anti-Semitism; and the endeavours of a leading postwar critical theorist, Jurgen Habermas are also discussed. Finally, the book focuses its critique on left antizionists who threaten to reinstate the Jewish question when they identify Israel and Zionism as the enemies of universalism.

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The unburied victims of Kenya’s Mau Mau Rebellion

Where and when does the violence end?

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David M. Anderson and Paul J. Lane

This chapter outlines the circumstances by which the bodies of over four hundred and fifty individuals killed during the Mau Mau insurgency in Kenya came to be deposited in the Osteology Department stores at Kenya’s national museum in Nairobi, where they currently serve as that institution’s primary human osteology reference collection accessed by local and international researchers. The history of this collection is then discussed against the wider and ongoing context of memorialisation of the Mau Mau insurgency as a founding process in Kenya’s struggle against British colonialism and the birth of nationhood. It also explores some of the remaining divisions between Mau Mau supporters and so-called ‘loyalists’, and efforts at achieving peace and reconciliation involving these different constituencies and the role that this specific collection of human remains could play in such processes. The chapter concludes with a series of more general observations on commemorating victims of mass violence and the treatment of human remains in post-conflict situations.

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The return of Herero and Nama bones from Germany

The victims' struggle for recognition and recurring genocide memories in Namibia

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Vilho Amukwaya Shigwedha

The colonial troops of imperial Germany, the Schutztruppe, carried out a systematic war of extermination (1904 – 1908) against the Herero and Nama people in what is now modern day Namibia. An undisclosed number of bones of the victims were traded to Germany in their pursuit of scientific racial studies. As part of the post-genocide growing trend calling for the repatriation of the bones, ongoing negotiations between the Namibian and German governments have resulted in the return of fifty-five skulls, including a few skeletons since October 2011. The return of these bones to Namibia has divided Namibian society on religious, cultural, political and ethnic issues regarding what to do with the genocide victims’ remains.

In view of the general public perception that the genocide bones have been treated with a considerable degree of indignity, this study attempts to associate the evolving disrespectfulness for the genocide’s bones with the re-emergence of genocide trauma and suffering of the affected communities in general. It perceives political obstruction, involving German and Namibian governments, as a central factor that impedes humanitarian efforts to seek justice and dignity for the bones or descendants of the genocide’s victims.

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(Re)politicising the dead in post-Holocaust Poland

The afterlives of human remains at the Bełzec extermination camp

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Zuzanna Dziuban

This chapter will focus on three extermination camps – Bełżec, Sobibór, and Treblinka – to understand the cultural and social importance of burial for the processes of mourning performed in post-catastrophic contexts. Often referred to as the most deadly and, at the same time, most forgotten camps, these sites in many respects differ from the other National Socialist camps erected in Nazi-occupied Poland due to their ceasing to operate and being dismantled as early as autumn 1943. They thus left a relatively small number of camp survivors and the absence of any material traces, as well as a lack of press coverage at the time of liberation.

The chapter will analyse the transformation of former camp sites into landscapes of memory and focus on the ethical and political motivations for and implications of the archaeological research and its role for reshaping the commemorative activities at the camp locations. It will be argued that the new commemorative idioms developed at and for the sites of former extermination camps not only reflect important changes in the approach to the Holocaust in post-1989 Poland, but can also be interpreted in terms of ‘commemorative reburial’: a politically and ethically charged effort aimed at performing the ‘buriability’ of the victims of the camps.

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(Re)cognising the corpse

Individuality, identification and multidirectional memorialisation in post-genocide Rwanda

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Ayala Maurer-Prager

Given the lack of individualised corpses, how do Rwanda’s principal memorial sites - Nyamata, Nyarubuye and Murambi – function as commemorative grounds? Should each corpse be named to combat the facelessness with which genocidal perpetrators paint their victims? How do perceptions of the corpse shift with the endowment of individuality. There is the possibility that the resistance to discussing the corpse in studies of genocide and mass violence is the result of its being largely understood as inhering within a post-violence landscape, as a product of violence rather than representing violence itself.

The chapter will examine a number of texts detailing the Rwandan genocide – both fictional and autobiographical – and the way in which they describe corpses of victims being literal parts of the landscape. Through literary depictions of the corpse by Jean Hatzfeld, Boubacar Boris Diop and Philip Gourevitch, this chapter will suggest that the significance of the corpse has shifted within national consciousness; while constantly being a symbol of death and a call to mourning, the corpse has, in spite of its anonymity at commemorative sites, become the means by which the Rwandan community have begun to come to terms with their loss.

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Series:

Élisabeth Anstett and Jean-Marc Dreyfus

The introduction outlines the book’s scope and addresses the central questions raised by the included chapters: when, how and why are bodies hidden or exhibited, and what is their effect, either desired or unintended, on various political, cultural or religious practices? With explicit reference to each chapter, a historic and disciplinary background will be presented, raising issues such as the increased application of forensic sciences on the discovered dead body, the emergence of debates surrounding necro-political strategies by states and political communities, and the economy and chain of custody over human remains resulting from historic and contemporary forms of violence.

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Human remains in society

Curation and exhibition in the aftermath of genocide and mass-violence

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Edited by: Jean-Marc Dreyfus and Élisabeth Anstett

This book addresses the practices, treatment and commemoration of victims’ remains in post- genocide and mass violence contexts. Whether reburied, concealed, stored, abandoned or publically displayed, human remains raise a vast number of questions regarding their legal, ethical and social uses.

Human Remains in Society will raise these issues by examining when, how and why bodies are hidden or exhibited. Using case studies from multiple continents, each chapter will interrogate their effect on human remains, either desired or unintended, on various political, cultural or religious practices. How, for instance, do issues of confiscation, concealment or the destruction of bodies and body parts in mass crime impact on transitional processes, commemoration or judicial procedures?

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Series:

David Deutsch

Proper burial, according to Jewish tradition, is one of the most esteemed, important and respected traditions; it is considered to be the only "Mitzva", that is, more important than the study of the Torah. Due to the extent of the corpses, human remains, ashes and mass graves in post-Holocaust European, rabbinic authorities therefore increasingly faced the issue of how to deal with their appropriate commemoration following WWII liberation.

One of the most common questions in rabbinical discourse was the question of post-war reburial from mass graves to provide proper burial for each of the deceased individuals. Later rabbinic writing provides a more systematic approach to the reality of post-war reburial of mass graves, dealing with the fact that many of the bodies were incinerated and oftentimes the only things present were hair, teeth, bones, dirt and ashes. In many of the rabbinical deliberations a complex process of ruling is evident forcing the rabbis to base their final ruling on earlier Talmudic citations rather than later responsas.

Due to the lack of academic literature the field, this chapter will provide a descriptive presentation of various rabbinical responsas to the vast amount of Jewish human remains after the Holocaust, exploring the themes, language, context, historical background and approach.

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‘Earth conceal not my blood’

Forensic and archaeological approaches to locating the remains of Holocaust victims

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Caroline Sturdy Colls

It is estimated that around 11 million people were killed during the Holocaust. However, compared to the overall number of missing persons, very few searches for the corpses of victims have been carried out. In fact, thousands of burials and deposition sites remain unlocated and unmarked and few of the burials found have been examined by specialists. Certainly, very few have been examined using techniques now commonly used in forensic investigation and archaeology in relation to other periods of history.

This paper will address this paradox between the ever-present and physically illusive corpse in relation to the Holocaust. It will consider the circumstances and sensitivities that have impacted upon searches for the remains of Holocaust victims in the past, given the sites’ symbolic and scientific resources for victims and their descendants as well as archaeologists, and as such create sites of conflict between different religious and political authorities within a necro-economy. Ultimately it will argue that, providing the sensitivities surrounding the investigation of this period are accounted for, forensic and archaeological techniques can be utilised in the future to locate previously unmarked sites, characterise burial environments, analyse corpses and shed new light on practices of killing and body disposal.