It Takes a Village to Create a Nation’s Memory 

Returning Jews and Local Communities Worked Together to Lead Germany Toward Historical Reckoning

In the early postwar years in the German town of Warendorf, no one contributed as much to facing the difficult past as Hugo Spiegel. He was not a learned man. He was Jewish, however. And his story tells us something important about how German communities confronted their history.

The central insight is that a country can’t face up to its past alone. Germans needed help from Jews who came back to their hometowns after the war.

Spiegel, who was born in the nearby town of Versmold in 1905, belonged to a long …

Coming Home to the Holocaust | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Coming Home to the Holocaust

My Mother Barely Escaped Nazi Germany. I Returned to Remember Those Who Didn't and to Reclaim Them as My Own

In the town hall of Fischach, a village in southern Germany with a population of 2,500, I am staring at a glass display case holding the detritus of the Jews …

Why Don’t American Jews Search for Their Heritage in New York City?

Tourists Now See the Holocaust, Not the Lower East Side, as the Core of the Jewish Experience

While the Jewish heritage industry is booming in many places, it is struggling in New York.

This poses a problem not just for the city but also for those who …

How Concentration Camp Prisoners Found Comfort in Imaginary Feasts

From Ravensbrück to Mao's Labor Camps, Inmates Recited Family Recipes to Preserve Their Humanity

When the Soviet Union sent Dmitri Likhachev to an offshore detention camp in February 1928, the Russian scholar was crammed onto a train car with other prisoners and handed a …

How Jewish Was Stanley Kubrick?

The Director of 2001 and Eyes Wide Shut Had the 'Aura of a Talmudic Scholar' and Favored Plots Dealing With Cultural Outsiders

Many people are surprised to discover that legendary director Stanley Kubrick—whose masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey is 50 years old this year—was Jewish. He rarely spoke of it, his films …

The Germany I Could Not Hate

It Was the Place That Exiled and Killed My Ancestors, But It Felt Like Home

From the moment I settled into my window seat on a plane destined for Frankfurt, it was a vacation riddled with contradictory feelings. My dad’s business trip this past July …