Why was there no Holocaust in Soviet Russia? There were killings, but the killings did not take on the same meaning as in the West, where the Holocaust emerged as a unique and paradigmatic set of events. Official Soviet history is part of the reason for the absence of the Holocaust in the former Soviet Union. The term “Holocaust” itself did not have broad currency in the West during the 40s and it was not used in Russian until the Soviet Union collapsed in the 1990s. Nonetheless, Soviet literature, almost completely neglected by scholars and critics, confronts the impossible history of the destruction of the Jews, but not in the same terms as Holocaust literature in the West.
The selection of a design for the Berlin Memorial to Europe’s murdered Jews was a contentious one. After September 11th, the memorial for those who died in the World Trade Center was compared by some to holocaust memorials before it, and by one reporter specifically to the Berlin Memorial. How did it come to pass that the memorial at Ground Zero would evoke Berlin’s Memorial to Europe’s murdered Jews?