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Marrus, Michael R.
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) In Carol A.L. Prager and Trudy Govier, Dilemmas of Reconciliation: Cases and Concepts. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. Pp. 27-36.

Can the past be forgiven? Can people who have been traumatized live with memory and each other again? What do they need to be healed? Our task in this volume is to seek a more informed sense of which strategies and approaches to reconciliation are being employed, how effective or problematic the strategies have proven to be in various contexts and what ethnic and political issues arise from the use of these strategies. Attempting answers, I draw on the field that I know best, which is the Holocaust, the destruction of European Jewry during the Second World War, widely recognized as the benchmark, a defining moment in the drama of good and evil. I want to emphasize that as I draw upon the history of the reaction to the Holocaust following the Second World War, I will limit myself to collectivities, peoples, societies, countries, nations and civilizations, rather than referring to individuals. In doing so, I want to identify four different strategies or was of reckoning with this particular catastrophe: political, legal, material and cultural. Each of these operates, to one degree or another, on a therapeutic level often referred to as “coming to terms” with the Holocaust. What I want to discuss is what we mean by “coming to terms” in these four different contexts. In what follows, I will offer some thoughts about each of them. (excerpt)


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