Post-Transitional Apology: Expressing Contrition Whilst Addressing the Holocaust Transitional Justice’s Failure

in Public Apology between Ritual and Regret

This chapter examines the consequences of a public apology that is neither adequately formulated nor delivered in a timely manner. Further to research that scrutinizes the importance of the context, timing and perception of the ritual of apology in the global arena, as well as the chronological importance of the apology in transitional justice, my goal is to identify, explain and analyze when, why and how a second apology may be required by the victims. In contrast to John Torpey’s chronological map of ‘Reparation Politics’, I demonstrate that in the case of Switzerland, it is the apology made in 1995 that initiated the debate concerning the heirless assets from the Holocaust era owned by the Swiss banks.

What emerges from the content analysis of some 6,440 news items produced by the Swiss national press agency and the Associated Press in Switzerland, Israel and the United States, is the victims’ intimation of the necessity for what I call a ‘post-transitional apology’.

Public Apology between Ritual and Regret

Symbolic Excuses on False Pretenses or True Reconciliation out of Sincere Regret?


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