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Wangh, M. (1994). Journal of Social Work and Policy in Israel. V-Vi (Special Issue), 1992: Can Psychoanalytic Insights Reveal the Knowability and the Aesthetics of the Holocaust? Moshe Halevi Spero. Pp. 123-170.. Psychoanal Q., 63:613.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Journal of Social Work and Policy in Israel. V-Vi (Special Issue), 1992: Can Psychoanalytic Insights Reveal the Knowability and the Aesthetics of the Holocaust? Moshe Halevi Spero. Pp. 123-170.

(1994). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 63:613

Journal of Social Work and Policy in Israel. V-Vi (Special Issue), 1992: Can Psychoanalytic Insights Reveal the Knowability and the Aesthetics of the Holocaust? Moshe Halevi Spero. Pp. 123-170.

Martin Wangh

This paper analyzes the contention that the Holocaust is unknowable, and also the notion that psychoanalytic interpretations of the Holocaust and its metaphors contrast with "aesthetic" presentations and are therefore in some way undesirable. Five possible modes of "knowing" the Holocaust are differentiated, leading to the conclusion that the Holocaust is in fact knowable, or at least subject to being known. Nevertheless, we find that the profound silences, absences, and psychospatial gaps that continue to be transmitted unconsciously across the generations tend to perpetuate certain "unknowable" aspects of the Holocaust experience. Second, the myth of the psychological unknowability of the Holocaust may mask the more profoundly disturbing theological dilemma of God's apparent relinquishing of the world to human evil. Linking concepts are provided for bridging the philosophical and clinical dimensions of the discussion.

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The following abstract appeared in this issue of Journal of Social Work and Policy in Israel, and is reprinted with the kind permission of the author, Moshe Halevi Spero.

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Article Citation

Wangh, M. (1994). Journal of Social Work and Policy in Israel. V-Vi (Special Issue), 1992. Psychoanal. Q., 63:613

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