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Times Will Tell

Podcast: Too soon? Israeli scholar explains why Holocaust humor is here to stay

Granddaughter of survivors Dr. Liat Steir-Livny says analyzing the use of Shoah jokes in contemporary Israeli society offers a window into sabra souls

Welcome to Times Will Tell, the weekly podcast from The Times of Israel. This week, in honor of Yom Hashoah, Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, we’re speaking with Dr. Liat Steir-Livny, who is a senior lecturer in Holocaust, film and culture studies at Sapir Academic College and the Open University.

Steir-Livny, the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, is the author of five books and innumerable articles on the Holocaust in contemporary popular culture, including “Is it O.K to Laugh about it? “(Vallentine Mitchell, 2017), which analyzes Holocaust humor, satire and parody in Israeli culture.

We speak about the rampant use of Holocaust humor that has proliferated over the past 20 years in Israel, why it is flourishing and what it symbolizes.

Whereas Israelis have accepted Holocaust humor as an integral part of the parlance, Steir-Livny has found that abroad it is still clearly “verboten” and like “poking the bear.”

Dr. Liat Steir-Livny, an expert in Holocaust humor and Senior Lecturer at Sapir College, Israel. (courtesy)

Steir-Livny has found that the phenomenon is cross-generational and can be found on all media platforms. On Twitter, for example, Steir-Livny has discovered a treasure trove of “humorous” Anne Frank references, and found out what they represent.

We also discuss the increasing trend of the Zikaron Basalon or Remembrance in the Living Room grassroots gatherings and their role today. Spoiler: Steir-Livny credits the program with “saving” Holocaust Remembrance Day.

We also speak about recent headlines calling for Yom Hashoa to be turned into a fast day.

The Times of Israel podcasts are available for download on iTunesTuneIn, Pocket CastsStitcher, PlayerFM or wherever you get your podcasts.

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