In an article at Slate Ron Rosenbaum takes on the notion that too many people, too many Jews especially, are holocaust-obsessed. He writes:
The much-lauded German novelist W.G. Sebald has been quoted saying "no serious person thinks of anything else." This was obviously a form of hyperbole designed to jolt people out of complacency. But it raises the question: How much does a serious person think about the Holocaust? What does it mean to be "obsessed" and what does it mean to give the Holocaust an appropriate place in our political and cultural consciousness?
Is it better... to be "somewhat interested" in the holocaust, rather than "holocaust-obsessed"? Moderately interested? Temperately troubled? How much is the correct amount of interest one should devote to rapidly receding history? How much should the charge of obsession affect the way we look at the victims of collective hate murders in the present: 9/11, the Oslo slayings and the Sikhs, for instance.
Rosenbaum says that use of the 'holocaust-obsessed' epithet is 'in effect, the new Holocaust denial'. I wouldn't go this far myself; his characterization of the trope as 'Holocaust inconsequentialism' is closer to the mark: 'Yes, it happened, we're all so sorry, but... [it] shouldn't have any consequences for how we view the present situation.' In any case, having argued before - see here (section 3) and here (from 'A few words now in conclusion...' on) - that 'there is not too much attention given to the Holocaust or any other genocide, there is too little', I will undertake a different exercise. I will offer 11 reasons for continuing to be interested in the Holocaust.
(1) The Holocaust was the product, among other things of two millennia of anti-Semitic prejudice, hatred and persecution and shows where that sort of thing can lead. I mean 'that sort of thing' to apply both specifically, to hostility to Jews, and generally, to all forms of ethnic or religious hatred.
(2) As a highly organized case of genocide, the Holocaust provides instructive material to students of comparative genocide, the prevention of which has become one of the fundamental legal and moral norms of contemporary international society.
(3) It offers, likewise, materials in abundance for the study of what brings the perpetrators of mass murder to do what they do. This is surely something we need to understand as well as we can.
(4) The Holocaust is one case, though not the only one, of the extremities in which human beings can become involved or into which they can be tempted. It is important to know this about our species and not to gloss it over with comforting fairy-tales.
(5) For that reason it is also a useful example for philosophers who are interested in the concept of evil, in trying to define its content and boundaries, even though it is not indispensable as an example, since there is so much other illustrative history.
(6) The Holocaust is interesting in the questions it poses about how we can - and how far we can - adequately represent human catastrophe and atrocity.
(7) Like other man-made calamities it challenges us to think about the consequences of indifference in the face of vast wrong-doing and the sufferings of others.
(8) Millions of people were done to death in the most horrible ways in the camps and the shooting pits of Nazi Europe. They died, mostly, forlorn and abandoned. For no other reason than this, it is an act of simple humanity to memorialize them, to give them an eternal name.
(9) The Holocaust provides instances of acts of great courage and of the survival of forms of moral decency even in extremis. This also needs to be noted, against the claim that everyone is a potential murderer in his or her deepest soul.
(10) The Nazi genocide was a central fact about the nature of German National Socialism and is bound to be of interest to historians and sociologists in trying to understand that political phenomenon.
(11) It is unthinkable that a society and culture committed to human rights and the prevention and punishment of crimes against humanity should not be interested in the Holocaust.
I don't claim that that is anything like a comprehensive list. But it is enough to see off the 'Holocaust-obsessed' contention - in so far as one can take this at all seriously (as an intellectual viewpoint rather than a piece of ideological dross).