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Hungary’s Holocaust Simulacrum

Summary:
The memory of the Holocaust in Hungary and elsewhere is slowly becoming a simulacrum of historical reality, owing to a paradigm shift in the way the tragedy is memorialized. This change aims fundamentally to alter the Holocaust's universally recognized status as a moral landmark in European history, with major consequences for the continent's values and politics. BUDAPEST – The exhibition at the House of Jewish Excellence in Balatonfüred, a small, picturesque town on the northern shore of Hungary’s Lake Balaton, features some 130 prominent Jews in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), many of them of Hungarian origin. The museum shop, however, has nothing specifically referring to Jews

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The memory of the Holocaust in Hungary and elsewhere is slowly becoming a simulacrum of historical reality, owing to a paradigm shift in the way the tragedy is memorialized. This change aims fundamentally to alter the Holocaust's universally recognized status as a moral landmark in European history, with major consequences for the continent's values and politics.

BUDAPEST – The exhibition at the House of Jewish Excellence in Balatonfüred, a small, picturesque town on the northern shore of Hungary’s Lake Balaton, features some 130 prominent Jews in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), many of them of Hungarian origin. The museum shop, however, has nothing specifically referring to Jews in the Hungarian context. At best, one can purchase a bottle of kosher wine or a mug with the iconic photo of Albert Einstein sticking out his tongue.

Hungary’s Holocaust Simulacrum

Perhaps this is not a problem. Maybe we should just celebrate the opening of another Jewish museum in Hungary, which has the second-largest Jewish community in Europe but very few Holocaust memorial sites. We might even overlook the fact that by identifying excellence only with STEM research, the museum renders invisible several other...

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