Topics: Holocaust, Holocaust Education, Holocaust Commemoration, Holocaust Memorials, Main Topic: Holocaust and Memorial, Memory, Post-1989
Abstract: This article addresses the performative dimension of the post-1989 Polish memorial culture of the Holocaust, characterised by a collaborative and audience-participatory model of remembering the Jewish victims. In this model participants are invited to become creators and owners of public memory, rather than silent observers or witnesses to commemorations performed by others. The article offers a critical and theoretical understanding of performativity in Holocaust commemoration through the examples of educational memorial actions Listy do Henia (‘Letters to Henio’) and Kroniki sejneńskie (‘The Sejny Chronicles’) led by the Polish grassroots institutions Ośrodek Brama Grodzka (‘Grodzka Gate-NN Theatre Centre’) in Lublin and Ośrodek Pogranicze (‘Borderland Foundation’) in Sejny. Drawing mainly on Polish perspectives on memory, the article examines the aesthetic and ethical value of these actions. It further probes how a performative model of engagement can serve to expose the complex past of Polish–Jewish relations, to bring the historical past vividly into current consciousness, and to facilitate a sense of belonging to a moral community of memory among younger generations of Poles.
Topics: Israeli Expatriates, Jewish - Non - Jewish Relations, Israel-Diaspora Relations, Jewish Culture, Holocaust Commemoration, Holocaust, Main Topic: Holocaust and Memorial, Memory
Abstract: The relevance of nostalgia and memory in the constitution of identity narratives of individuals and nation states is a well-documented phenomenon. Yet little is known about the function of nostalgia in the context of Israeli and Polish relations. The Holocaust experience has changed in dramatic ways how Jews and Poles relate to the category of nostalgia. In this essay Swetlana Boym’s distinction between ‘reflective nostalgia’ and ‘restorative nostalgia’ will serve as a starting point for a discussion about the function of nostalgia in the works of Israeli artist Yael Bartana and Polish artist Rafał Betlejewski, and about its role in facilitating the formation of new perceptions of the self and of the other and of new understandings of homelands.
The Potency of Design in Holocaust Exhibitions. A Case Study of The Imperial War Museum’s Holocaust Exhibition (2000)
Topics: Holocaust Commemoration, Holocaust, Holocaust Education, Museums, Main Topic: Holocaust and Memorial
Abstract: Holocaust exhibitions are known for their unique iconography, often constructed by means of exhibition design. This article focuses on how visitors construct meaning based on display choices made by exhibitions designers. It presents insights from an audience research study which was conducted with young visitors of The Holocaust Exhibition at the Imperial War Museum in London. It addresses how design choices impact on the visitor’s engagement and understanding of the Holocaust Exhibition. By drawing on visitor comments, this article shows that design plays a significant role in shaping visitors’ understanding of the Holocaust, as well as their level of engagement, focus and emotional response. It further makes several practical suggestions, informed by visitor feedback, regarding the development of new Holocaust exhibition designs.
Staging Encounters with Estranged Pasts: Radu Jude’s The Dead Nation (2017) and the Cinematic Face of Public Memory of the Holocaust in Present-Day Romania
Abstract: This article provides a close analysis of Radu Jude’s The Dead Nation (2017), a documentary essay that brings together authentic archival sources documenting the persecution and murder of Jews in World War II. The sources include a little-known diary of Emil Dorian, a Jewish medical doctor and writer from Bucharest, a collection of photographs depicting scenes from Romanian daily life in the 1930s and 1940s, and recordings of political speeches and propaganda songs of a Fascist nature. Through a careful framing of this film in relation to Romanian public memory of World War II, and in connection to the popular new wave cinema, I will contend that Jude’s work acts, perhaps unwittingly, to intervene in public memory and invites the Romanian public to face up to and acknowledge the nation’s perpetrator past. This filmic intervention further offers an important platform for public debate on Romania’s Holocaust memory and is of significance for European public memory, as it proposes the film happening as a distinct and innovative practice of public engagement with history.