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Everybody’s Holocaust? Tova Reich’s Satirical Approach to Shoah Business and the Cult of Victimhood

Department of English and American Studies, University of Ostrava, 701 03 Ostrava, Czech Republic
Genealogy 2019, 3(4), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy3040051
Received: 30 August 2019 / Revised: 24 September 2019 / Accepted: 24 September 2019 / Published: 27 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genealogy The Holocaust in Contemporary Popular Culture)
This paper sets out to demonstrate the changes that post-Holocaust fiction has been undergoing since around the turn of the new millennium. It analyzes the highly innovative and often provocative approaches to the Holocaust and its memory found in Tova Reich’s novel My Holocaust—a scathing satire on the personal and institutional exploitation of Holocaust commemoration, manifested in the commodification of the historical trauma in what has been termed “Shoah business”. The novel can be seen as a reaction to the increasing appropriation of the Holocaust by popular culture. This paper focuses on Reich’s critical response to the cult of victimhood and the unhealthy competition for Holocaust primacy, corresponding with the growth of a “victim culture”. It also explores other thematic aspects of the author’s satire—the abuse of the term “Holocaust” for personal, political and ideological purposes; attempts to capitalize on the suffering of millions of victims; the trivialization of this tragedy; conflicts between particularists and universalists in their attitude to the Shoah; and criticism of Holocaust-centered Judaism. The purpose of this paper is to show how Tova Reich has enriched post-Holocaust fiction by presenting a comic treatment of false victimary discourse, embodied by a fraudulent survivor and a whole gallery of inauthentic characters. This paper highlights the novel’s originality, which enables it to step outside the frame of traditional Holocaust fiction. View Full-Text
Keywords: Holocaust; Tova Reich; commodification; trivialization; victimhood; particularism vs. universalism; inauthenticity; Judaism Holocaust; Tova Reich; commodification; trivialization; victimhood; particularism vs. universalism; inauthenticity; Judaism
MDPI and ACS Style

Kolář, S. Everybody’s Holocaust? Tova Reich’s Satirical Approach to Shoah Business and the Cult of Victimhood. Genealogy 2019, 3, 51.

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