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Striving for integrated commemoration: The presentation of the Holocaust and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Berlin

By Lauren Burger and Concordia University (Canada)


This thesis investigates Holocaust commemoration at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin, Germany. Completed in Mitte in May 2005, the Mahnmal has come to be understood as Germany's central Holocaust Memorial. It is, however, dedicated exclusively to the Jewish victims of Nazi crimes. During the Memorial's 17 year-long genesis, many criticized those responsible for the project for institutionalizing a hierarchy of the victims of National Socialism. Discontent about how a new memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe would centralize a diverse landscape of memory---both physically, by eclipsing numerous memorial institutions and historical sites in Germany, and interpretively, by establishing that the Nazi persecution of Jews overshadows that of other victim groups---fuelled the long debate over the Mahnmal.Pointing to aspects of the Mahnmal's history, its current tourist literature, the presentation at its attached Information Centre and the programme of its governing body, this study counters such criticism. I contend that the Mahnmal is a site where a determined attempt to integrate the memorialization of European Jews murdered during the Holocaust---into the landscape of the capital, into the network of historical and memorial sites pertaining to National Socialism and the Third Reich, and into other histories of suffering during that period---emerged as a predominant theme, and a clear goal of the memorial-Makers. The project, I demonstrate, engenders such integrated commemoration, and fosters dynamic opportunities for ongoing Holocaust commemoration in Germany.Thesis (M.A.)--Concordia University (Canada), 2006.School code: 0228

Topics: Holocaust memorials, Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas (Berlin, German), Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945), Art
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