Jews and the racial state: legacies of the Holocaust in Apartheid South Africa 1945-1960
Jewish Social Studies, 16, (3), . (doi:10.1353/jss.2010.0007).
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This article is part of a larger study exploring how the Holocaust shaped responses to apartheid in South Africa, a weighty question given that country's identity as the quintessential racial state after 1945. During the apartheid years (1948-94), memory of the Holocaust was regularly invoked by South Africans of diverse backgrounds and political motivations. Where some saw obvious parallels, however, others drew starkly different conclusions. The article focuses on the period from the war years until 1960, a formative phase during which South Africans adapted to the new regime and memory narratives began to be fashioned. Shifting patterns of discourse reveal, on one end of the spectrum, a gradual rapprochement between Afrikaners and Jews based in part on a willful amnesia about the Nazi period, and, on the other end, an anti-racist movement beginning to identify itself as "the most important moral battle in the world since the defeat of Nazism."
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