A Festschrift for Wolfgang Mieder’s 75th Birthday
Edited By Andreas Nolte and Dennis Mahoney
This Festschrift for Wolfgang Mieder, preeminent paremiologist and folklorist, combines personal tributes and scholarly papers by colleagues, friends, and former students – presented in three categories that address his roles as a mentor, scholar, and world citizen over many decades.
The central scholarly section likewise consists of three parts. The papers dealing with proverbs examine them as patterns, stereotypes, rhetorical devices, media for self-enchantment, and means of allusion in works by Tolstoy, Solzhenitsyn, Chukovskaya, and Kempowski. A second group deals with fairy-tale motifs in literary works by Lehmann, Rabinowich, and Hummel. A third section includes topics ranging from James Bond to Stephen King, from runaway slaves to the Holocaust, and literature as cultural ecology.
Diagnosing and Treating “Holocaust Fatigue”
Abstract: The Holocaust has become a fixture in American culture, but scholars now express concern over “Holocaust fatigue” among students and the general population. This article assesses this phenomenon within the trajectory of Holocaust memory in the U.S., and suggests how educators, communities, and custodians of Holocaust memory might respond.1
In April 2005, John Tamihere, a member of the national parliament of New Zealand, claimed that he was “sick and tired” of hearing about the Holocaust.2 Tamihere is a member of the Maori people, that is, a people who had been indigenous to New Zealand at the time of its colonization by Europeans. Over time, the Maori lost 95 percent of their land and were shoved to the margins of New Zealand society.3 In his controversial comment on the Holocaust, Tamihere did not deny, justify, or rationalize the murder of millions of European Jews. Instead, he expressed his frustration with the attention granted to the Holocaust to the exclusion, as he saw it, of other atrocities and genocides.
Tamihere’s statement provides a compelling example of the phenomenon that has come to be called “Holocaust fatigue.” The American Heritage dictionary defines the word “fatigue” as follows: “The decreased capacity or complete inability of an organism, organ, or part to function normally because of excessive stimulation or prolonged exertion.”4 Applied figuratively to the memory of the Holocaust, fatigue indicates a decrease or cessation of the ability intellectually or emotionally to process new information. It is...
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