By Oren Meyers, Eyal Zandberg, Motti Neiger (auth.)
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Additional resources for Communicating Awe: Media Memory and Holocaust Commemoration
Additionally, the Chief Rabbinate was a hegemonic institution and was thus largely free of internal political struggles. Following that, the Chief Rabbinate authorized itself to define every aspect of the Memorial Day: its date (the 10 of Tevet), its content (religious mourning customs) and the sites of commemoration (the Chamber of the Holocaust on Mount Zion and synagogues). And so, in its edition of 10 of Teveth (18 December 1950), the daily newspaper HaTzofeh, which was affiliated with the National Religious Party, quoted the call by the Chief Rabbinate’s for a Day for the Martyrs of the Holocaust: We have set the 10 of Tevet, for now and for generations to come, as the day to commemorate the sanctified communities, men, 26 Communicating Awe women and children who cruelly lost their lives in their multitudes at the defiled hands of the Nazi beast … A day to say Kaddish,2 to study Mishnah3 and to light a memorial candle … and for every Jew wherever he may be, the day will be sanctified for the memory of the great many households and families that were destroyed without leaving a single survivor or refugee, and their redeemer is the entire House of Israel … In Jerusalem, the community will conduct its evening prayers on Mount Zion … in everlasting memory of the blessed departed, some of whose ashes are stored in the Chamber of the Holocaust … after reading from the Torah and morning prayers, a special memorial prayer prepared for us to commemorate the Holocaust will be read.
While other newspapers emphasized their writers’ non-journalistic sources of authority to commemorate the Holocaust, Haaretz relied in its coverage to a large extent on its regular staffers, hence stressing their professional source of authority. Furthermore, Haaretz consistently published translated articles, originally published by foreign newspapers and thus drew on professional (local and foreign) journalistic authority and not national or biographic sources of authority. The different usees of sources of authority by Haaretz accords with the way in which it shaped its alternative memorial narrative.
Ariel’s personal biography is also of relevance: in the article he wrote that he is not a survivor, but rather that he ‘lives with the Holocaust by marriage’. As mentioned, one of the main changes in the journalistic commemorative discourse over the years has been the expansion of biographic authority and the changing definition of ‘witnessing’. Within this context, we identified three levels of witnessing: at the first level, we find the Holocaust survivors who narrate personal memories. And so we found that along the years, their authority was expanded and famous survivors had the authority to tell not only their own personal stories but the ‘whole story of the Holocaust’.