Finkelstein is at his best when he skewers the pieties of those who
would sacralize the Holocaust by making it into a kind of inverted
Among these is Wiesel, for whom the Holocaust is at once uniquely
Jewish and universally human.
Finkelstein offers a stinging account of the hoaxes and
hucksters who have profited from the Holocaust, saving particular
vitriol for Benjamin Wilkomirski (a.k.a. Bruno Doessekker), whose
fraudulent memoir, "Fragments," still has defenders, including
Israel Gutman of Yad Vashem, the Israeli museum of the Holocaust. Gutman
admits that though the events the book recounts are phony, "the
pain is authentic."
And Finkelstein is finally right to point to the essential
strangeness of the American Holocaust Museum:
"Imagine the wailing accusations of hypocrisy here were
Germany to build a national museum in Berlin to commemorate not the Nazi
genocide but American slavery or the extermination of the Native
Though the comparison is forced, it underscores how the
American Holocaust Museum's existence in the nation's capital testifies
to the Holocaust particularism that is anathema to Finkelstein.