Never Too Late to Remember: The Politics Behind New York City's Holocaust Museum

Never Too Late to Remember: The Politics Behind New York City's Holocaust Museum

by Rochelle G. Saidel
     
 

Why has New York City, the largest center of Jewish culture and home to more survivors than any other city in the United States, taken more than half a century to begin implementing plans for its Holocaust memorial? Because the process of memorializing of any historical event, Rochelle Saidel explains, is inevitably political, and she gives a detailed analysis of how… See more details below

Overview

Why has New York City, the largest center of Jewish culture and home to more survivors than any other city in the United States, taken more than half a century to begin implementing plans for its Holocaust memorial? Because the process of memorializing of any historical event, Rochelle Saidel explains, is inevitably political, and she gives a detailed analysis of how various groups within the American Jewish community, local power brokers, real estate developers, and major political players have all influenced the memorial's progress. Never Too Late To Remember traces the history of the numerous attempts to create a Holocaust memorial in New York City that began in 1946-47, and focuses on the present project, A Living Memorial to the Holocaust-Museum of Jewish Heritage, facing the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in lower Manhattan and scheduled to open in 1997. Saidel is frank in attributing the many false starts and delays to conflicting political agendas, tensions among project organizers, and broken promises and commitments. More than a story of back-room politics, Never Too Late To Remember places New York City's project in the broader framework of Holocaust memorialization, thereby examining the dynamic between memory, ideology, politics, and representation.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This astute, engrossing and comprehensive analysis by Saidel (Outraged Conscience: Seekers of Justice for Nazi War Criminals in America) details the difficult struggle begun in 1947 to build a memorial in New York City to commemorate the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust. Although the city has the largest population of Jewish residents and Holocaust survivors in the U.S., internal conflicts within the Jewish community, as well as the anti-Semitism spurred by red-baiting during the 1950s, defeated early efforts to build a memorial. During the 1970s, a new initiative was launched that had the support of President Carter, Governor Cuomo and N.Y.C. Mayor Koch, all of whom, according to Saidel, politicized the memorial either to gain favor with Jewish voters (Carter and Koch) or to forge advantageous real estate deals (Cuomo), which delayed construction. The memorial is now being built in Battery Park City and is scheduled to open in 1997. Photos not seen by PW. (Oct.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
Saidel, a political scientist, has studied the Holocaust for over 20 years and is currently interested in the experiences of women during the Holocaust. Her current book paints a detailed picture of the local, state, and national politics that have contributed to, or worked against, the establishment of the New York Holocaust Museum. Saidel argues that another memorial is necessary because Yad Vashem bends the Holocaust to serve Israeli nationalist ideology, the Washington museum "Americanizes" it, and the Los Angeles Museum is divided between "universal tolerance lessons and slick high-tech dramatizations." Saidel believes that New York's museum will give a more balanced, i.e., accurate, history of the destruction of European Jewry. Saidel writes as advocate rather than bystander. Although this does not detract from the scholarly quality of the book, it does raise questions of objectivity. For specialized Judaica collections.Frederic Krome, Northern Kentucky Univ., Highland Heights

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780841913677
Publisher:
Holmes & Meier Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
10/01/1996
Pages:
275
Lexile:
1500L (what's this?)

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