Naked Victims, Dressed-up Memory: The Escape from Auschwitz and the Israeli Historiography

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


First discusses the five Jewish escapees from Auschwitz, including Walter Rosenberg (Rudolf Vrba) and Alfred Wetzler (Josef Lanik) in April 1944. These two fled to their native Slovakia and informed the heads of the Jewish community about Auschwitz. Hungarian leaders, however, did not publicize the information. Asks why Israeli historians failed to mention the names of these heroic men and their deeds. This silence was broken only in response to Holocaust deniers who wrote of the "myth of Auschwitz". Attributes this to unwillingness to raise embarrassing questions about the Judenräte, both in Hungary and in Slovakia, particularly since the head of the Slovak Judenrat, Oskar Neumann, had made aliyah and headed the Association of Czechoslovakian Immigrants in Israel. Vrba had criticized such leaders for their conspiracy of silence and its disastrous results. Stresses that Vrba represents a Holocaust narrative that challenges the hegemonic "sheep theory" of Israeli Holocaust historiography.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-25
Number of pages5
JournalIsrael Studies Forum
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001


  • Auschwitz (Concentration camp)
  • Courage
  • Essays
  • Gas chambers
  • Genocide
  • Heroes
  • Holocaust
  • Holocaust Jewish (1939-1945) -- Historiography
  • Holocaust Jewish (1939-1945) -- Israel -- Influence
  • Jewish peoples
  • Jewish studies
  • Memoirs
  • Prisoners
  • Vrba Rudolf
  • Zionism


Dive into the research topics of 'Naked Victims, Dressed-up Memory: The Escape from Auschwitz and the Israeli Historiography'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this