Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism : Birkbeck University of London
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Why “Shoah”? A Conceptual History and Two Narratives of Zionism and Antisemitism

Pears Institute Lunchtime Seminar

Speaker: Hizky Shoham, Bar Ilan University
Date: Mon, Feb. 24, 2020
Time:  1:00pm - 2:00pm
Venue: Birkbeck, University of London
Free seminar for scholars:

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The Hebrew word Shoah has become a standard term for the 1940s genocide of European Jewry and has entered the vocabularies of several other languages. For many people this historical event required a new entry in the socio-political lexicon. This talk tracks the conceptual history of the term Shoah in Hebrew, and its gradual appearance as the most common designation for the annihilation of European Jewry, overshadowing traditional terms such as hurban (destruction), on one hand, and the newly coined Hebrew term “retzah-‘am” (genocide) on the other. The consequence of this new lexical entry was the dominance of a narrative, among Jews and many others, that stresses the “singularity of the Holocaust”.

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