In the USA, the Holocaust has become an inescapable feature of public life. There is a Holocaust Memorial Museum in downtown Washington, a Holocaust Day, commemorative parks in many cities, and high-school instruction in the subject mandated by numerous state legislatures. University chairs in Holocaust studies cater to a student population whose knowledge of European history and the Second World War is centred increasingly upon this single event.
Latterly the cultural obsession has spread – with perhaps more justification – to Europe itself, where memorials, official anniversaries and museums have proliferated in the last decade. Holocaust denial has been criminalised in several countries and acknowledgement of the Holocaust serves as a litmus test of political acceptability almost everywhere.