Masha Gessen’s talk at the Hannah Arendt Prize ceremony

Quick background and context of the talk from The Times of Israel:

The Russian-American writer Masha Gessen received a German literary prize Saturday in a ceremony that was delayed and scaled down in reaction to an article she penned comparing Gaza to Nazi German ghettos.

The comparison in a recent New Yorker article was viewed as controversial in Germany.…

In Gessen’s article, titled “In the Shadow of the Holocaust,” the author explores German Holocaust memory, arguing that Germany today stifles free and open debate on Israel.

Die Zeit has the full text of the talk in English, which makes several points about—and about thinking about—history, comparison, learning, memory, and politics—and their uses. This toward the end really stood and to me and gets, I think, to the point:

We are not any smarter, kinder, wiser, or more moral than people who lived ninety years ago. We are just as likely to needlessly give up our political power and to remain willfully ignorant of darkness as it’s dawning. But we know something they didn’t know: we know that the Holocaust is possible.