Holocaust historiography and cultural history

Dan Stone, Dan Michman, Carolyn J Dean, Wendy Lower, Federico Finchelstein, Dominick LaCapra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article is accompanied by an introduction by Amos Goldberg (pp. 45-51), as well as responses by several scholars. In his article (pp. 52-68), Stone deplores the fact that only slowly and with difficulties does cultural history find its way into Holocaust research. Wherever this method was able to make inroads into writing on the Holocaust, it was able, for example, to solve the controversy between the intentionalist and functionalist schools. In recent works by Saul Friedländer, Philippe Burrin, Jeffrey Herf, and some others, a "modified intentionalism", using some ideas of the functionalist school, but emphasizing the role of Nazi ideology, emerged as a leading tendency. Argues that cultural history can explain the irrational, "phantasmatic" world which fueled the persecution of Jews and the Final Solution; this fantasy world is in many respects the key to understanding the Holocaust more fully. Cultural history is in a somewhat better position in Israeli Holocaust research, which has always focused on the religious behavior of victims, Jewish reactions to persecution, Nazi vocabulary, etc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-68
Number of pages17
JournalDapim; Studies on the Shoah
StatePublished - 2010

Bibliographical note

Appeared also in "The Holocaust and Historical Methodology" (2012) 44-60.

RAMBI Publications

  • RAMBI Publications
  • Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) -- Historiography
  • Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) -- Germany -- Influence
  • National socialism -- Historiography


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