Dear friends and colleagues,
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak today here about some of the questions I found myself struggling with, while reading and translating “Shoah” by Philippe Benichou.
Benichou’s paper talks about the Shoah. You cannot wonder, Benichou writes, what a "real for the twenty-first century" could be, without mentioning that event beyond meaning, real, all too real, the Shoah.
I was captivated but also puzzled by the power of this depiction of the Shoah as an “event beyond meaning, real, all too real”.
I asked myself, what could this mean?
Attempting to formulate an answer, I found myself faced with further questions:
What is an event? What is history? What is a historical event?
And then: What is real in a historical event?
This is how I will begin.