Originally appeared in The Boston Book Review.
. . . Several decades after the Holocaust, there is a danger, for those of us who did not live through it, of a kind of automatism of Jewish memory; of reiterating narratives of tragedy without any longer bothering to think about them; of identifying with martyrdom without having earned the right to it; of remaining fixated on the most awful moment so that we don't have to look back to the more ambiguous past -- or forward to the troublingly uncertain future.
HB: What led you to write "Shtetl"?
EH: Many things. It was initially commissioned as a sort of companion book to the television documentary, "Shtetl." But, of course, I took it on because I had my very personal and quite impassioned interest in the subject.