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Austria’s Post-Holocaust Jewish Community: A Subaltern Counterpublic between the Ethics and Morality of Memory

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Part of the The Holocaust and its Contexts book series (HOLC)

Abstract

At the 2013 Cannes Festival, Claude Lanzmann showed his most recent work, a documentary about the controversial role played by the Viennese rabbi Benjamin Murmelstein in relation to the deportations of Austrian Jews during the Holocaust. The documentary is based on interviews Lanzmann conducted with Murmelstein in Rome in 1975, nearly 40 years prior to their eventual release. Austrian reception of Lanzmann’s documentary was framed by an interview, published in the weekly news magazine Profil, with Doron Rabinovici, an influential Austrian-Israeli historian, writer and author of a seminal study of Jewish functionaries under the reign of Nazism (Rabinovici, 2000a). Asked to comment on the extraordinary time-lag between Lanzmann’s original interviews with Murmelstein and the first public screening of the resulting documentary, Rabinovici argued that although Murmelstein had tried to ‘buy time’ for Vienna’s Jews during the Holocaust, his controversial role as a Jewish representative who had been forced to negotiate with the Nazis had for a long time been a taboo subject for Jews in Israel, Austria and elsewhere. Before now, Rabinovici postulated, ‘the time had not yet been right’ for the kind of cinematic representation and resulting discussion Lanzmann’s new documentary would generate (Zöchling, 2013).

Keywords

Jewish Community Popular Culture Culture Industry Jewish History Holocaust Survivor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Christian Karner 2015

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