My uneasy inheritance
By JONATHAN HOWARD

Odi et amo. Quare id faciam, fortasse requiris.
nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior.
‘I hate and I love. Why do I do it, perchance you might ask?
I don’t know, but I feel it happening to me and I’m burning up.’
– Catullus, Carmen 85.

It’s been said before and I am discovering anew that modern Israeli society is completely dominated by the memory of the Holocaust. I grew up learning about the Holocaust from my grandmother, who lived through it, from conversations around the dinner table about the madness of Hitler, and from the sighs that accompanied the conversation.

When I grew up I got to talk to my father, who was once a teacher of 20th-century history, about the Bismarck and the Yamato, about Field-Marshal von Rundstedt and Field-Marshall Bernard Montgomery, and about the Nuremberg race laws, and Pope Pius XII. I also read a great deal and eventually developed my own ideas about the Holocaust.

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