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Holocaust AngstThe Federal Republic of Germany and American Holocaust Memory since the 1970s$
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Jacob S. Eder

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190237820

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190237820.001.0001

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A Holocaust Syndrome?

A Holocaust Syndrome?

Relations between the Federal Republic and American Jewish Organizations in the 1980s

(p.50) 2 A Holocaust Syndrome?
Holocaust Angst

Jacob S. Eder

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the relationship between the Kohl government and the American Jewish community during the 1980s. Helmut Kohl wanted to “normalize” West Germans’ relationship to the Nazi past. The unprecedented boom in American Holocaust memorial culture, however, challenged such policies, especially with regard to the image of Germany abroad. The chancellor and his closest advisors personally dealt with and reacted to these issues, and they perceived relations with American Jewish organizations as a particular challenge in this context. The chapter explores some of the most contentious episodes of German–Jewish relations during the 1980s, such as the Bitburg controversy and German plans to sell arms to Saudi Arabia, but also explores how German diplomats and politicians at home dealt with American memory of the Holocaust, as well as Jewish organizations and Holocaust survivors in the United States.

Keywords:   Helmut Kohl, Ronald Reagan, Bitburg, anti-Semitism, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Holocaust survivors, American Jewish Committee, Konrad Adenauer Foundation, politics of history

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