What is the role of fiction in holocaust education? While some argue that fiction and literature have no place at all, one could make a case that The Diary of Anne Frank has done more to cement the lessons of the Holocaust in the minds of real people than any number of documentaries and studies. Art, literature, and film play the same role for civilizations as dreams do for individuals; they allow us to integrate our experiences and learn from them. They allow us not just to remember what happened but to be changed by it.
It may seem ironic that International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which takes place on the anniversary of Auschwitz’s liberation, is not marked in Israel. And yet, considering the timing and character of the commemoration, Israel’s choice to pay tribute to the Shoah on a different anniversary is somehow appropriate.
Israel’s founders appeared to flout Jewish tradition by scheduling Yom Hashoah during a month reserved for celebration. Their decision may not have been as subversive as it seems.