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Race Equality at Cambridge


Holocaust Memory And Lessons Are For All Of Us

Professor Esra Özyürek


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'At a time when the last perpetrators and first-hand victims of the Holocaust are dying, and increasingly greater number of Europeans are not of White Christian background, we need to conceptualize Holocaust memory as inclusive of all Europeans, and humans, so we can carry its memory and lessons well into the twenty-first century.


In 2000s European Holocaust memory culture witnessed two major transformations. It became a global symbol that gives a language to understand and reflect on other major injustices around the world. Simultaneously Muslim minorities in Europe and majorities around the world have been excluded from this expansion by being accused of not engaging with the Holocaust memory, not being able to empathize with its Jewish victims, and as a result not learning the lessons of tolerance and democracy. Based on fifteen years of research on Muslims engagements with the Holocaust memory culture in Germany, I suggest that those accusations are often misplaced, and that European Muslims do engage with the memory of Holocaust intensely. Their engagement, however, takes different shapes from those of white Germans who descent from group in whose name this unspeakable crime was committed.'


Professor Esra Özyürek joined University of Cambridge after having taught at the London School of Economics and University of California, San Diego. She completed her PhD at the University of Michigan and prior to that she received a completed her undergraduate degree in Sociology and Political Science at Bogazici University, Istanbul. Esra's research explores this tension between the universalism and particularism of globally appealing religious and post-religious belief and value systems. She has published widely, including 'Being German, Becoming Muslim: Race, Religion, and Conversion in the New Europe.', 'Nostalgia for the Modern: State Secularism and Everyday Politics in Turkey.' and 'Muslim Minorities as Germany’s Past Future: Islam Critics, Holocaust Memory, and Immigrant Integration'.