In 1945 newsreels showed harrowing images of starving prisoners in Nazi concentration camps to shocked cinema audiences. Hitler and Nazism were forever associated with brutality of a kind that seemed more extreme and unique than anything else in human history. But the presentation of mass murder enacted by the Nazi regime was not at first singularly focused on the Jews who had perished. It covered the many countless millions of victims scattered across the length and breadth of the European continent. As the years went by, the Jewish Holocaust began to overshadow the broader dimensions of Nazi genocide. Nowadays the Holocaust is viewed not merely as an important event in history, but as a global phenomenon encompassing novels, films and many museums. It seems, as the Jewish historian Yaffa Erlich put it: ‘There is no business like Shoah business.’1 No serious history of the murder of the Jews can simply concentrate on the events of the Holocaust; it must also consider the impact of the Holocaust — especially on modern global and largely westernised popular culture since 1945.
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