Why Do People Love Dead Jews?
Anne Frank, public radio, and other exercises in public empathy
In the first episode of this new limited-release series, Dara Horn ponders a prickly question: Why are so many people so moved by the memory of dead Jews, yet so disinclined to truly embrace the ones who are very much alive?
The question first presented itself to Horn when she was a teenager, sent by a teen magazine to cover the opening of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. She filed a moving report, but an elderly acquaintance, a Holocaust survivor, was having none of it, challenging Horn to rethink the way she approached memory, history, and other things Jews spend a lot of time contemplating. The result was People Love Dead Jews, Horn’s new book and her first work of nonfiction, and this companion podcast, a hilarious and thought-provoking look at how we wrestle with our past and how, behind our backs, our past still wrestles with us.
Archives of “The Eternal Light” radio show, featured in this episode, are available here, including the complete episode, “The Voice of Rachel.” Other episodes of “The Eternal Light” dealing with the Holocaust include, among others, “Chronicle of the Dead,” “The Day of the Shadow,” “Girl Without a Name,” “The Search,” “The Congregation of the Dead,” and “A Song for the Conqueror.”
Material cited here about the Anne Frank House can be found in greater detail in “Everyone’s (Second) Favorite Dead Jew,” in People Love Dead Jews by Dara Horn.
Adventures with Dead Jews is brought to you by Tablet Studios and SoulShop. It’s created and written by Dara Horn, and produced and edited by Josh Kross and Robert Scaramuccia. The managing producer is Sara Fredman Aeder, and the executive producers are Liel Leibovitz, Stephanie Butnick, Gabi Weinberg and Dan Luxenberg. We hope you’ll rate and review it wherever you get your podcasts, so that more people can join us on our adventures.
Dara Horn’s new book, People Love Dead Jews, is published by WW Norton and is available wherever books are sold. It’s also available as an audio book from Recorded Books. We hope you’ll check it out.
- Adventures with Dead JewsAgreeable Jews: Ep. 7Amid rising antisemitism, we look back at a 1947 blockbuster that schooled a generation of Americans in how not to be antisemites—and discover a fatal flaw in anti-bias education that dates back to Napoleon. Can we do better? October 15, 2021
- Adventures with Dead JewsUnsinkable Jews: Ep. 6Confederate Jews aren’t a good look these days, if they ever were. But they’re harder to get rid of than you might expect—whether in the 19th century or the 21st.October 8, 2021
- Adventures with Dead JewsTime-Traveling Jews: Ep. 5The bizarre story of how multiple genius identical twins discovered a massive 900-year-old document dump in a closet in a Cairo synagogue … and what that time capsule reveals about how we remember the pastOctober 1, 2021
- Adventures with Dead JewsDisposable Jews: Ep. 4A Soviet Yiddish actor gets a boost from Stalin to travel the world and save the Jews—but a career in show business in the Soviet Union doesn’t end in a house in MalibuSeptember 24, 2021
- Adventures with Dead JewsShooting Jews: Ep. 3What do an iconic Holocaust movie and an iconic dinosaur movie have in common? A lot more than you might think.September 17, 2021
- Adventures with Dead JewsFrozen Jews: Ep. 2What happens when a country hears about an antisemitic conspiracy theory and takes it literally?September 10, 2021
- Adventures with Dead JewsWhy Do People Love Dead Jews?Anne Frank, public radio, and other exercises in public empathy September 2, 2021
- Adventures with Dead JewsTablet Studios and SoulShop present: Adventures with Dead JewsComing soon: Adventures with Dead Jews with Dara HornAugust 20, 2021