ABSTRACT

254 255The cult of Hitler today is framed by an understanding of the scale of the atrocity. But for the genocide of the Jews, he might have evolved into a super-Napoleon, the toast of cultists everywhere and nostalgia fetishists. Yet the iconography of the concentration camps, the pathetic debris of personal items, shoes and spectacles, the long silent lines of the doomed and the deceived queuing up for certain extinction – these are the interpretants. They trigger, in normal people, a visceral response: the Holocaust, like the Western Front, has become part of the landscape of modern memory. The imagery of both has acquired perpetual residence in the imagination, a past that is forever present.