Concentration Camp Memorials in Eastern Germany since 1989
In 1995 the German federal centre for political education published a collection of essays on the problems arising from public representations of the Holocaust. Angela Genger, director of the Dusseldorf Memorial Centre, expressed her worries about developments at the major memorial centres following the unification of Germany. Under the heading ‘Are we facing a roll back?’, she laments that ‘the discursive and process-orientated practice adopted since the early eighties’ has been playing ‘non-principal role’2 in the memorials’ quest for renewal. As president of the working group for memorials in North Rhine-Westfalia, she particularly regrets that the discourse has since become ‘state-based’. In the old federal republic, the protagonists had often met with solid political opposition from the various municipalities, regions and federal states. Passionate and lengthy debates were carried on between so-called ‘barefoot historians’ and history workshops, trade union and church groups (especially ‘Aktion Sühnezeichen’), engaged activists and local politicians, but most of all former inmates and other victims of National Socialism. They eventually succeeded in bringing about a range of vastly different, decentralized memorials. These are seen in strong contrast to the centralized memorials, which are funded by the federal government and the relevant states, were conceived by historians and other experts, and are headed by academics and administrators enjoying a superior level of social security, with pension benefits and even the provision of housing.
Link to article (paywalled), Concentration Camp Memorials in Eastern Germany since 1989
Concentration Camp Memorials in Eastern Germany since 1989. . 2001: 2259-2274. https://archive.jpr.org.uk/10.1007/978-1-349-66019-3_158