The Holocaust, the Socialization of Victimhood and Outgroup Political Attitudes in Israel

Carly Wayne, Taylor J. Damann, Shani Fachter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


How does historical victimization and its memorialization impact present-day outgroup attitudes in conflict-riven societies? This study explores this question using a survey experiment with a representative sample of 2000 Jewish Israelis—half of whom are direct descendants of Holocaust survivors—and a content analysis of 98 state-approved school textbooks, examining how histories of victimization become socialized and shape political attitudes. We find that, in Israel, family victimization during the Holocaust plays surprisingly little role in shaping present-day attitudes toward outgroups. Rather, perceived historical victimization of the Jewish and Israeli people is broadly socialized among the Israeli public and is a stronger predictor of outgroup (in)tolerance. These findings shed light on the power of societal victimhood narratives—even in the absence of personal family histories of victimization—to shape political attitudes in conflict contexts, with long-term implications for intergroup cooperation and conflict.

Original languageEnglish
JournalComparative Political Studies
StateAccepted/In press - 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.


  • Middle East
  • experimental research
  • legacies of violence
  • mixed-methodology
  • political psychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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