The recording, explanation and the inescapable task of judging great wrongs in the past presents historians with their most difficult assignment. For those who have either lived through such injustice or have been in some way responsible for it the impositions of memory are both painful and unavoidable. Memory shapes the future, and the recollections of past suffering haunt and may overwhelm generations long after.
In 1938 the National Socialist Party in Germany began the final preparations for the systematic genocide of the Jews throughout Europe. For the Jews, whose national loyalties had long exceeded any ties of ethnicity, the programme of extermination was an act not merely of monstrous cruelty but of humiliation and treachery.
In Holocaust Remembrance scholars, artists and writers consider the ways in which the events of 1938-1945 have been, might be, and will be remembered. The records of the Holocaust are vast and various, ranging from the museum at Auschwitz to the cartoons of Art Spiegelman, from the dark paintings of R. B. Kitaj to the elegaic stories of Primo Levi, from the filmed testimonies of the death camp survivors to revisionist historians who usurp the name of scholar in the pursuit of denial and evasion.
The perspectives brought to bear here are rich and various - impassioned, objective, personal, poetical, historical and philosophical. They are united by an awareness of the dangers both of respectful silence and overwhelming information, and that only in remembering can an understanding of the past be sought and human kind redeemed from the forces of humiliation and guilt.