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Delayed Impact: The Holocaust and the Canadian Jewish Community

ISBN: 9780773520653
Publisher: McGill-Queen's University Press
Publication Date: 2000-08-10
Number of pages: 340
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Description


Bialystok begins by examining the years immediately following World War II, showing that Canadian Jews were not psychologically equipped to comprehend the enormity of the Holocaust. Unable to grasp the extent of the atrocities that had occurred in a world that was not theirs, Canadian Jews were not prepared to empathize with the survivors and a chasm between the groups developed and widened in the next two decades. He shows how the efflorescence of marginal but vicious antisemitism in Canada in the 1960s, in combination with more potent antisemitic outrages internationally and the threat to Israel's existence, led to an interest in the Holocaust. He demonstrates that with the politicization of the survivors and the maturation of the post-war generation of Canadian Jews in the 1980s, the memory of the Holocaust became a pillar of ethnic identity. Combining previously unexamined documents and interviews with leaders in the Jewish community in Canada, Bialystok shows how the collective memory of an epoch-making event changed in reaction to historical circumstances. His work enhances our understanding of immigrant adaptation and ethnic identification in a multi-cultural society in the context of the post-war economic and social changes in the Canadian landscape and sheds new light on the history of Canadian Jewry, opening a new perspective on the effects of the Holocaust on a community in transition.

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