Friday, 27 January 2012

Fackenheim on the Holocaust

Today was Holocaust Memorial Day. Last Sunday I attended the Birmingham Memorial Event at the Town Hall. Particularly moving was survivor  Mindu Hornick's reflections upon Father Dubios' book Holocaust by Bullets. On Thursday I went to The Progressive Synagogue for an event and display that focussed  particularly on the children of survivors

My own reflections on the Holocaust have been shaped by my recent reading of a group  of Jewish philosophers and theologians who led from the mid sixties onwards a serious engagement with the reality of the Holocaust and the radical evil that it represented. Among these thinkers I have found myself drawn into and being moved, challenged, inspired, confused and provoked  by the work of the late Emil Fackenheim.  Fackenheim himself only just escaped Nazi Germany in the late 30s after having experienced a period in a concentration camp. This Guardian Obituary at the time of his death in 2003 captures the complexities and contradictions of the man I've encountered in his writing and memoirs as does this penetrating and critical exploration.

Below is a very powerful speech that Fackenheim made at a conference on 'Ethics after the Holocaust' in 1996

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