A contribution to the sixth installment of the Common Knowledge symposium “Apology for Quietism,” this article reflects on the challenges that understanding the Holocaust posed for Jews in Palestine and has posed for them in Israel. Ofer concentrates on the images of victims, fighters, and survivors as they were formulated during the last years of World War II and after the establishment of the State of Israel. Behind these images stood historical, concrete human beings who were classified according to concepts supplied by Zionist and historical Jewish culture, in which activism vs. quietism had long presented major issues for debate. A narrative and typology developed of fighting heroes, victims, and survivors; Ofer questions how different these categories were from each other. In pursuit of an answer, she examines institutions in Israel for commemoration and remembrance, especially Yad Vashem, a state-established institution centering on its often-reconfigured and redesigned historical museums. Finally, this article explores the impact of immigrations and wars on the approach of Israelis to activism and quietism, with special reference to attitudes toward the Holocaust.

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