Event Review: International Symposium “Reframing Mass Violence: Social Memories and Human Rights in Post-Communist Europe”

Event Review: International Symposium “Reframing Mass Violence: Social Memories and Human Rights in Post-Communist Europe”

(IAS Collaborative)

March 4-6, 2015

An international symposium on “Contested Past, Contested Present: Social Memories and Human Rights in Post-Communist Europe” took place at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities on March 4-6. It was organized by the IAS Collaborative “Reframing Mass Violence”, and sponsored by the Human Rights Program and the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, among other supporters.

Continue reading “Event Review: International Symposium “Reframing Mass Violence: Social Memories and Human Rights in Post-Communist Europe””

Book of the Month: Holocaust Memory Reframed: Museums and the Challenges of Representation

Holocaust Memory Reframed: Museums and the Challenges of Representation

by Jennifer Hansen-Glucklich

Museum administrators and curators have the challenging role of finding a creative way to present Holocaust exhibits to avoid clichéd or dehumanizing portrayals of victims and their suffering.

173In Holocaust Memory Reframed, Jennifer Hansen-Glucklich examines representations in three museums: Israel’s Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Germany’s Jewish Museum in Berlin, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. She describes a variety of visually striking media, including architecture, photography exhibits, artifact displays, and video installations in order to explain the aesthetic techniques that the museums employ. As she interprets the exhibits, Hansen-Glucklich clarifies how museums communicate Holocaust narratives within the historical and cultural contexts specific to Germany, Israel, and the United States.

Jews, Tutsis and the Paradoxes of Genocide Memory

No nos une el amor, sino el espanto.
(We are not united by love, but by horror)

Jorge Luis Borges
(Argentinean poet)

Since Auschwitz it has indeed been possible to speak of a
German-Jewish symbiosis-but of a negative one. For both
Germans and for Jews the result of mass extermination has
become the basis of how they see themselves, a kind of
opposed reciprocity they have in common, willy-nilly.

Dan Diner
(Historian)

The above-cited quotes reveal a tragic irony. The Holocaust has bound forever “Germans” and “Jews” to the past. It has also opened an insurmountable gap that conditions the mutual relationship, as well as the passing on of group identity – of victims and of perpetrators stuck in a permanent position of culpability – to the next generations. Moreover, it perpetuates in time a binary division constructed by the Nazi ideologues: Germans vs. Jews.

Continue reading “Jews, Tutsis and the Paradoxes of Genocide Memory”

Remembering the Holocaust in the High School Classroom – An Exercise in Divergent Thinking

Memory is a tricky thing. Biased and imperfect, it can be willfully deceitful and innocently forgetful. Collective memory is no different, and is perhaps more problematic in that it is often formed and framed by people and institutions with ulterior motives. Even more importantly, collective memory defines our popular conceptions of history’s meaning.

Popular histories are powerful forces in shaping identity and purpose for all societies. Yet, they rarely do justice to the delicate intricacies of the central questions that the pressing issues of human existence ask of us. Popular history marginalizes some of the most essential questions that we face, and yet, it is often the only history to which many young people are exposed. Continue reading “Remembering the Holocaust in the High School Classroom – An Exercise in Divergent Thinking”