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Author(s): Lyapov, Filip
Date: 2023
Abstract: Bulgarian Jews to a large extent escaped the horrors of the Holocaust, yet their opposition to the antisemitic policies of Bulgarian governments during the war led a disproportionate number of them to join left-wing opposition groups and eventually perish in the anti-fascist struggle. Fallen Jewish partisans, relatively well-known during the socialist period, were nevertheless commemorated first and foremost as communists, rather than as heroes from one of Bulgaria's minorities. The communist post-war regime's reluctance to recognize Jewish anti-fascist activity separately and the mass exodus of Bulgarian Jews to Israel, as well as the persistent antisemitism within the Eastern Bloc, all contributed to the marginalization of the memory of Jewish anti-fascism before the collapse of communism. The 1989 transition resulted in further neglect of Jewish suffering and martyrdom as the very premise of their heroic actions – anti-fascism – was erased and replaced by the new anti-communist mnemonic canon. Post-1989 Bulgaria even gradually rehabilitated controversial figures from the pre-1944 ruling elite by virtue of their anti-communist credentials. Curiously, a single fallen female Jewish partisan, Violeta Yakova, has received public attention that has evaded her fellow martyrs. Her name resurfaced as Bulgarian nationalists began organizing the annual Lukov March – a torch-lit procession commemorating a pro-fascist interwar general assassinated by Yakova. The case of the Bulgarian-Jewish partisan can therefore provide a much-needed revisiting of the way that Jewish anti-fascism has been commemorated and reveal the complex dynamics of contemporary memory politics, antisemitism, and right-wing populism in Bulgaria.
Author(s): Otova, Ildiko
Date: 2024
Abstract: In recent years, the fate of the Jews in Bulgaria during the Second World War has aroused the research interest of humanities scholars from various disciplines, with a number of studies published (see e.g., and many of the following cited (Avramov 2012. “Спасение” и падение. Микроикономика на държавния антисемитизъм в
България, 1940–1944 [“Rescue” and fall. Microeconomics of State Anti-semitism in Bulgaria, 1940–1944]. Sofia: Sofia University “St. Kl. Ohridski; Daneva 2013; Krsteva 2015; Koleva 2017)). Many rely on research on the construction of memory. At the same time, fewer research efforts seem to have focused on how the topic has become politicized in the years since 1989 (see e.g. Benatov 2013. “Debating the Fate of Bulgarian Jews during
World War II.” In Bringing the Dark Past to Light the Reception of the Holocaust in Postcommunist Europe, edited by John-Paul Himka, and Joanna Beata Michlic, 108–31. University of Nebraska Press; Ragaru 2020. Et les Juifs bulgaresfurent sauvе…Une histoire des savoirs sur la Shoah en Bulgarie. Paris: Science Po). The aim of this paper is to offer precisely this perspective on the topic of non/rescue, and in the last ten years. Politicization has traditionally been understood as the process of attributing salience to an issue of public interest through various channels such as political discourse and media, and in the presence of the multiple and diverse opinions associated with it (deWilde, Pieter. 2011. “No polity for old politics? A framework for analyzing the politicization of European
integration.” Journal of European Integration 33 (5): 559–75; de Wilde, Pieter, Anna Leupold, and Henning Schmidtke. 2016. “Introduction: the differentiated politicisation of European governance.” West European Politics 39 (1): 3–22). In some texts on the politicization of the migration crisis in Bulgaria in the years since 2012, the author shows how a topic can be politicized in the absence of political debate and in the context of a dominant
populist understanding, multiplied by various power actors – politicians, institutions, media and intellectuals (see e.g. Otova, Ildiko, and Evelina Staykova. 2022. Migration and Populism in Bulgaria. London: Routledge). For the purposes of this paper, by politicization the author will understand the blurring of ideological differences of interpretations of who the savior is in a populist consensus around the construction of the rescue narrative
for foreign policy use, but mostly as a nation-building narrative. The focus of this article is on the last ten years, in which the political interpretations and actions surrounding the commemoration of the 70th in 2013 and 75th in 2018 and the 80th anniversary in 2023 of the events surrounding the so-called rescue of Bulgarian Jews are particularly interesting. It is during these last years that populism has become the norm for the political scene in Bulgaria. Populism is not the obvious entrance to the topic, but it is the political framework within which the politicization of the topic of the rescue is developing, and a possible theoretical entrance. Populism became a persistent part of Bulgarian political life more than a decade after the beginning of the democratic changes of 1989. There are
several key factors involved in this process-exhaustion of the cleavages of the transition period, but especially the transformation of party politics into symbolic ones (Otova, Ildiko, and Evelina Staykova. 2022. Migration and Populism in Bulgaria. London: Routledge). Symbolic politics deal more with emotions and less with ratio and facts;
they build narratives that are often nationally affirming. The article does not claim to be exhaustive, especially in its presentation of historical facts. The limits of this rather political science approach are many. On the other hand, however, it adds to the research effort with a missing glimpse into the interpretations of the no/rescue theme and could open the field for further in-depth research.
Date: 2024
Author(s): Glöckner, Olaf
Date: 2023
Abstract: Our narrative and expert interviews with Jewish and non-Jewish key figures in public and political life mainly focussed on the question of to what extent have Jewish-non Jewish relations changed, compared to the discord prior to 1933, and the general reservation and uncertainty after 1945? We also raised other key questions like: to what extent do Jews in Germany feel integrated into today’s non-Jewish majority society? What do they consider core elements of their Jewish identities? What is the meaning of Israel in their lives as Jews? How do they cope with new trends of antisemitism in Germany? As a complementary question, we wanted to know from our non-Jewish interviewees how different they consider Jewish/non-Jewish relations today? To what extent does Shoah memory (still) affect these relations? How do Jews and non-Jews cooperate in social activities, and are there new, joint strategies to combat antisemitism?

Our interviews revealed that Jews in present-day Germany do not romanticize their lives in the country of the former Nazi regime. However, they appreciate efforts by the state to promote future Jewish life, to carry out dignified politics of commemoration, and to ensure security. Antisemitism is perceived as a societal problem but not as an existential threat. None of the Jewish interview partners considered Germany as a place that is too dangerous for Jews. Memory of the Shoah is considered important, but building a Jewish future, especially for one’s
own children, is the more relevant issue.

A key finding of our interviews in Germany is that a new generation of young Jews has grown up neither justifying living in the “country of the offenders” nor considering themselves representatives of the State of Israel. Young Jews in Germany run their own multifaceted networks, understanding themselves as Jews but to a similar extent also as Germans. Some of them enjoy participation in public and political life, deliberately acting in both roles
Date: 2023
Date: 2024
Abstract: This article examines the relationship between the Far Right and Holocaust memory politics in the Netherlands through an in-depth analysis of the antisemitic and conspiratorial discourse of far-right politician Thierry Baudet and his party, Forum for Democracy (FvD). While the FvD positioned themselves as a victim of establishment politics from the outset, the party used their opposition to government COVID-19 policies to bolster the image of themselves as victim of state power as well as Jewish conspiracies.

This article argues that Baudet’s Holocaust relativization and his criticism of the evolving character of Dutch Holocaust memory are intimately tied to his and the FvD’s antisemitic worldview, in which Jews are to blame for the decline of a mythologized white, Christian Dutch nation. In this context, the FvD used Holocaust analogies on social media, in the Dutch parliament, and during rallies to simultaneously accuse Jews of exploiting a victim identity for moral legitimacy and to contest the government’s acknowledgment of Dutch collaboration and inclusion of Jewish experiences into a broader national narrative of the Second World War. In posing these challenges to the status of the Holocaust in contemporary memory politics, Baudet and the FvD attempt to rewrite Dutch history with the white, Christian population as the true bearers of Dutch heritage and identity. Examining the character and normalization of Holocaust relativization in a country still lauded internationally for its tolerance despite its delayed process of ‘coming to terms’ with its Holocaust past demonstrates the centrality of memory politics to far-right ideologies.
Date: 2023
Date: 2023
Abstract: The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) commissioned Schoen Cooperman Research to conduct a comprehensive national study of Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness in the Netherlands.

Schoen Cooperman Research conducted 2,000 interviews across the Netherlands. The margin of error for the study is 2 percent. This memo presents our key research findings and compares these findings with prior Claims Conference studies, which were conducted in five other countries.

Our latest study finds significant gaps in Holocaust knowledge and awareness in the Netherlands, as well as widespread concern that Holocaust denial and Holocaust distortion are problems in the Netherlands today.
We found that 23 percent of Dutch Millennials and Gen Z respondents believe the Holocaust is a myth, or that it occurred but the number of Jews who died has been greatly exaggerated – the highest percentage among Millennials and Gen Z respondents in all six countries the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against
Germany has previously studied.

Further, 29 percent of Dutch respondents, including 37 percent of Dutch Millennials and Gen Z respondents believe that two million or fewer Jews were killed during the Holocaust. Moreover, despite the fact that more than 70 percent of the Netherlands’ Jewish population perished during the Holocaust, a majority of Dutch respondents (53
percent), including 60 percent of Dutch Millennials and Gen Z, do not cite the Netherlands as a country where the Holocaust took place. Finally, 53 percent of Dutch respondents believe that something like the Holocaust
could happen again today.
Date: 2023
Abstract: Holocaust memory in Europe is shifting and diversifying, often in conflicting ways. This report is the culmination of a comparative and multidisciplinary study aimed at exploring these contemporary shifts in Holocaust memory in five European countries that played very different roles during the Holocaust, and whose post-WWII histories differed too: Poland, Hungary, Germany, England and Spain.

The study took place from 2019-2022 and offers a snapshot of Holocaust memory at the start of the 21st century. In addition to the rise of far-right political parties, antisemitic incidents and crises around immigration and refugees, this period was also overshadowed by the Covid pandemic and its ensuing economic instability. Our central guiding question was: How do experiences of the present relate to the memory of the Holocaust? Do they supersede it, leading to the gradual fading from memory of the mass-murder that shook the twentieth century? Do they reshape it, shedding new light on its lessons? Is the meaning assigned to present-day events shaped by its metaphors and symbols, or perhaps the present and the past engage in multidirectional dialogue over diverse memory platforms?

To explore this question and other questions about the extent to which Holocaust memory is present in European public discourses, the circumstances in which it surfaces, and the differences in its expressions in the countries we examined, we focused on three complementary domains that serve as memory sites: the public-political, Holocaust education and social media.

We used a between/within analysis matrix of the countries and the domains, to understand how Holocaust memory is expressed in these countries. We found that while the memory of the Holocaust remains alive, in some places
it is struggling for relevance. A common memory practice that surfaced across domains was “relationing the Holocaust,” a variant of multidirectional memory. We also found that a distinguishing aspect of Holocaust memory relates to the political left-right identification of subgroups within countries. There were also interactions
between domains and countries, for example, in the countries we explored in Western Europe, teachers’ attitudes about the Holocaust corresponded to those of their political establishment, but this was not the case in Central and Eastern Europe.

This report is intended for Holocaust and memory scholars, educators, commemorators, policymakers, journalists and anyone interested in deciphering the complex intersections of past and present. The report culminates with a series of recommendations for various policymakers, NGOs, educational organizations and social media moderators.
Editor(s): Popescu, Diana I.
Date: 2022
Abstract: Visitor Experience at Holocaust Memorials and Museums is the first volume to offer comprehensive insights into visitor reactions to a wide range of museum exhibitions, memorials, and memory sites.

Drawing exclusively upon empirical research, chapters within the book offer critical insights about visitor experience at museums and memory sites in the United States, Poland, Austria, Germany, France, the UK, Norway, Hungary, Australia, and Israel. The contributions to the volume explore visitor experience in all its complexity and argue that visitors are more than just "learners". Approaching visitor experience as a multidimensional phenomenon, the book positions visitor experience within a diverse national, ethnic, cultural, social, and generational context. It also considers the impact of museums’ curatorial and design choices, visitor motivations and expectations, and the crucial role emotions play in shaping understanding of historical events and subjects. By approaching visitors as active interpreters of memory spaces and museum exhibitions, Popescu and the contributing authors provide a much-needed insight into the different ways in which members of the public act as "agents of memory", endowing this history with personal and collective meaning and relevance.

Visitor Experience at Holocaust Memorials and Museums offers significant insights into audience motivation, expectation, and behaviour. It is essential reading for academics, postgraduate students and practitioners with an interest in museums and heritage, visitor studies, Holocaust and genocide studies, and tourism.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Visitors at Holocaust Museums and Memory sites
Diana I. Popescu
Part I: Visitor Experience in Museum Spaces
Mobile Memory; or What Visitors Saw at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Michael Bernard-Donals
Visitor Emotions, Experientiality, Holocaust, and Human Rights: TripAdvisor Responses to the Topography of Terror (Berlin) and the Kazerne Dossin (Mechelen)
Stephan Jaeger
"Really made you feel for the Jews who went through this terrible time in History" Holocaust Audience Re-mediation and Re-narrativization at the Florida Holocaust Museum
Chaim Noy
Understanding Visitors’ Bodily Engagement with Holocaust Museum Architecture: A Comparative Empirical Research at three European Museums
Xenia Tsiftsi
Attention Please: The Tour Guide is Here to Speak Out. The Role of the Israeli Tour Guide at Holocaust Sites in Israel
Yael Shtauber, Yaniv Poria, and Zehavit Gross
The Impact of Emotions, Empathy, and Memory in Holocaust exhibitions: A Study of the National Holocaust Centre & Museum in Nottinghamshire, and the Jewish Museum in London
Sofia Katharaki
The Affective Entanglements of the Visitor Experience at Holocaust Sites and Museums
Adele Nye and Jennifer Clark
Part II: Digital Engagement Inside and Outside the Museum and Memory Site
"…It no longer is the same place": Exploring Realities in the Memorial Falstad Centre with the ‘Falstad Digital Reconstruction and V/AR Guide’
Anette Homlong Storeide
"Ways of seeing". Visitor response to Holocaust Photographs at ‘The Eye as Witness: Recording the Holocaust’ Exhibition
Diana I. Popescu and Maiken Umbach
Dachau from a Distance: The Liberation during The COVID-19 Pandemic
Kate Marrison
Curating the Past: Digital Media and Visitor Experiences at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
Christoph Bareither
Diversity, Digital Programming, and the Small Holocaust Education Centre: Examining Paths and Obstacles to Visitor Experience
Laura Beth Cohen and Cary Lane
Part III: Visitors at Former Camp Sites
The Unanticipated Visitor: A Case Study of Response and Poetry at Sites of Holocaust Memory
Anna Veprinska
"Did you have a good trip?" Young people’s Reflections on Visiting the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum and the Town of Oświęcim
Alasdair Richardson
Rewind, Relisten, Rethink: The Value of Audience Reception for Grasping Art’s Efficacy
Tanja Schult
"The value of being there" -Visitor Experiences at German Holocaust Memorial Sites
Doreen Pastor
"Everyone Talks About the Wind": Temporality, Climate, and the More-than Representational Landscapes of the Mémorial du Camp de Rivesaltes
Ian Cantoni
Guiding or Obscuring? Visitor Engagement with Treblinka’s Audio Guide and Its Sonic Infrastructure
Kathryn Agnes Huether
Author(s): Hughes, Judith M.
Date: 2022
Author(s): Schult, Tanja
Date: 2010
Abstract: Raoul Wallenberg is widely remembered for his humanitarian activity on behalf of the Hungarian Jews in Budapest at the end of World War II, and is known as the Swedish diplomat who disappeared into the Soviet Gulag in 1945. While he successfully combated Nazi racial extermination politics, he fell victim to Stalinist communism – yet another barbaric, totalitarian regime of the 20th century.

Given Wallenberg’s biography, his mission and his unresolved fate it is no wonder that Wallenberg became a figure of mythic dimensions. It is the mixture of heroics and victimhood, as well as the seemingly endless potential of possible adaptations that secures this historic figure and his mythic after-narratives its longevity. While it is without doubt the man behind the myth who deserves credit – first the man’s realness gives the myth credibility – it is the myth that secures the man’s popularity. The man and his myth depend on each other.

In this article, I will give an overview of how Wallenberg was perceived and described by survivors, in popular scholarly literature, how he has been researched by historians, and how he has been presented in different media. It will become apparent that the narrators have sought to satisfy different needs, e.g. psychological, political, and commercial ones. The narrators’ intention and attitude towards the historic person and the myth which surrounds him is of primary importance. I will show how different approaches to, and uses of, the myth exist side by side and nourish one another. And yet they can all simultaneously claim existence in their own right. By providing examples from different times and places, I like to illustrate that the popular images of Wallenberg are far less one-sided, stereotypical and homogeneous than they are often portrayed and hope to draw attention to the great potential that the Wallenberg narrative has today, as his 100th anniversary approaches in 2012.
Author(s): Turner, Michael
Editor(s): Masanori, Nagaoka
Date: 2020
Abstract: Kristallnacht, 1938, was a defining moment, changing the course of history. Can the Jewish heritage destroyed before and during World War II be reconstructed? This paper will link eschatological thought and the relevant Mishnaic texts, in particular the value of holiness and its attributes both in time and place. Can a synagogue be de-sanctified? Is the value in the material or the use?

Reviewing these tragic events, the possible criteria for reconstructing the architectural components of Jewish life should be considered, through the evidence of history, the record of events, values of the past, and the new realities of the future. Another significant concern is not so much in understanding the changing and diverse values of a community but the approaches toward the interpretations of these values. In this debate, where existential or historical models play a major role, Judaism tends toward the former, recalling events over time and the allegory in the facts.

What remained in Europe were the ruins, the memory of places and events, and the resilience of the human spirit. However, there are compounded memories and multiple voices, ever changing, challenging the identities of real and virtual communities. How do we evaluate the facts and the extended contexts over time that demand renegotiation of their meaning and interpretation?

On current projections, the Jews may become an insignificant number in European society over the course of the twenty-first century. Can these buildings, as reconstructed, live without the spirit of the people; can new people inhabit the reconstructions, or is the ruin the true manifestation of the course of history? The divergent case studies of the three ShUM cities, Speyer, Worms, and Mainz, in Germany provide a glimpse into the debate and an appraisal of the moment in time.

There are common attitudes facing recovery and reconstructions for uprooted communities after tragedies that leave scars on history. The case studies of Jewish heritage reconstruction and the considerations of impermanence provide another perspective to the restorations of the Bamiyan Buddhas and together a chilling evidence to the consequences of racism.
Author(s): Özyürek, Esra
Date: 2018
Abstract: In the last decade there has been widely shared discomfort about the way Muslim minority Germans engage with the Holocaust. They are accused of not showing empathy towards its Jewish victims and, as a result, of not being able to learn the necessary lessons from this massive crime. By focusing on instances in which the emotional reactions of Muslim minority Germans towards the Holocaust are judged as not empathetic enough and morally wrong, this article explores how Holocaust education and contemporary understandings of empathy, in teaching about the worst manifestation of racism in history, can also at times be a mechanism to exclude minorities from the German/European moral makeup and the fold of national belonging. Expanding from Edmund Husserl’s embodied approach to empathy to a socially situated approach, via the process of paarung, allows us to reinterpret expressions of fear and envy, currently seen as failed empathy, as instances of intersubjective connections at work. In my reinterpretation of Husserl’s ideas, the process of paarung that enables empathy to happen is not abstract, but pairs particular experiences happening at particular times and places under particular circumstances to individuals of certain social standing and cultural influences. An analogy can be made to shoes. Anyone has the capacity to imagine themselves in someone else’s shoes. Nevertheless, the emotional reactions the experience triggers in each person will be shaped by individual past experiences and social positioning. Hence, grandchildren of workers who arrived in Germany after World War II to rebuild the country resist an ethnicized Holocaust memory and engage with it keenly through their own subject positions.
Author(s): Gensburger, Sarah
Date: 2019