Perfect Heroes: The World War II Parachutists and the Making of Israeli Collective Memory

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Univ of Wisconsin Press, 15. 6. 2010 - Počet stran: 282
During World War II, the British military dropped several dozen parachutists from Palestine, including three women, behind enemy lines in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. These young soldiers, most of whom had fled Europe only a few years earlier, faced a double challenge: their British mission was to find pilots who had jettisoned over enemy territory and assist them in returning to Allied-occupied lands; their Zionist mission was to contact Jewish communities, assist them in rebuilding the local Zionist movement, and, when necessary, help their members escape from the Nazis. Seven of the parachutists lost their lives in this effort.

In Perfect Heroes, an expanded and updated English adaptation of her Hebrew book Giborim le-mofet, Judith Tydor Baumel-Schwartz recounts the history of these parachutists' wartime escapades and also analyzes the ways that various segments of Israeli society—military, political, legal, educational, youth, literary, and artistic—used the parachutists' story over the course of fifty years to build a nationalist narrative and to promote their own partisan and, at times, contradictory agendas. Baumel-Schwartz also offers broader comparative discussions of how individuals were commemorated as WWII heroes and heroines in many countries, in service of national mythologizing and collective memory.


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Reluctant Heroes 1943 1945
Initial Commemoration of the Parachutists 1945 1949
Repatriating the Parachutists 19501952
Part 2 The Symbol
Politicizing the Operations Commemoration in the 1950s
Commemoration of the Parachutists Mission in Israeli Youth Movements Schools Literature and Culture from the 1950s to the Early 1970s
Commemorating the Parachutists from the Mid1970s Onward
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O autorovi (2010)

Judith Tydor Baumel-Schwartz is chair of the Graduate Program in Contemporary Jewry and teaches in the Department of Jewish History at Bar-Ilan University in Israel.

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