The Politics of Comparison: Holocaust Memory, the European Left, and Visions of Third World Solidarity


ACLS Fellowship Program




Today, Holocaust references are a common feature in contemporary political discourse. Human rights activists and policy makers often deploy the phrase “Never Again” or cite the precedent of Auschwitz. “The Politics of Comparison” uncovers how Holocaust memory informed a political program grounded not in a celebration of the liberal international order, but rather in a radical critique of empire. It shows how West European activists and their non-European counterparts refashioned the memories of WWII in their campaigns against racial and economic oppression, arguing that their mobilizations illuminate the Holocaust’s relevance for forming ties of anticolonial solidarity. The manuscript begins in revolutionary Algeria, before charting international responses to the wars and genocides in Vietnam, Biafra, Bangladesh, and Cambodia. “The Politics of Comparison” challenges contemporary assessments of Holocaust memory that focus on its status as a tool of liberal international or neo-colonial domination. Between 1950 and 1970, the Holocaust was a visible feature within declarations of Third Worldist solidarity.