The answer to that is complicated and lies in the psychosocial phenomena known as cultural trauma. The term was penned by Jeffrey C. Alexander and his colleagues, and it refers to the collective adoption of a horrendous event, such as the Holocaust, which leaves a lasting impression on the group consciousness. The group accepts significant moral responsibility for the event, allowing them to share in each other’s suffering (Alexander 1). To explain in terms of the Holocaust, the collective acknowledgment that the actions of Hitler and his followers were abhorrent means that our society takes the moral stance that those actions never should have happened. This allows us to feel guilt over the Holocaust’s occurrence, ...
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