Holocaust , memory reframed

Page 1- the visitor may enter the museum and may survey the past by reentering , so to speak, the places of history depicted in the exhibits. However , as Amery admonishes us, although one may return to the places of the past , such as a reentrance never a recovery of lost time.

page 2 – Museums are often conceptualised as containers for memory,and in certain sense this metaphor rings true; after all, museums with a historical focus are places devoted to constructing a particular view of the past and top putting that chosen past on display, thereby claiming to offer the visitor and window into another time and place for a brief moment, in another sense, and more fundamentally however the metaphor falls conspicuously short because it suggests stasis. It fails to acknowledge the transformativr effects of a museum – it ignores, in other words, the way that a museum can create, through particular poetic or language of representation and narrative powerful enough to initial in the visitor a change in consciousness

page 5 – Oren Baruch Stier’s (talks about) how holocaust memory is shaped by the very forms and media through which the events of the past are communicated, on his unique contribution that materialization appears in different modes and thus inspires different kinds of memories such as through different concrete forms.

Page 5 – Holocaust memory is plural , that each holocaust site memorialises a unique holocaust and that holocaust remembrance is culture and nation-specific.

page 9 – Those who deny the ritual of remembrance and thus risk forgetting the past create a new exile in oblivion.

page 10 The USHMM reports since opening in 1003 has received more than 34 million visitors

page 10 – James E. young argued” memory is never shaped in a vacuum; the motives of memory are never pure.”

page 10 – Visitors to my site like a  novelist’s “ideal reader” does not exist empirically. Rather, he or she is an ideal composite – fashioned through the language of the architecture and made sympathetic to the salient worldview of the architectures host culture

page 11: Yad Vashem, the jewish Museum Berlin and The USHMM … share a fundamental task that shapes each of their narratives : they seek to tell the story of the Holocaust in a way that resonates with their national and cultural environments.

page 11: Museums… seek to involve their visitors in ways that carry them beyond the limits of mere spectatorship and engage them as witnesses.

page 12: bilderverbot – the taboo on representation. [similar to the ban of images of mohammed for example the overexposure of such idols,events etc desensitises you to them. This was why schindler’s list was scrutinised ] [it is much better to ] encapsulate common ideas of significance and trigger predictable thoughts and feelings

page 12: within the field of memory studies, two distinct conceptions have merged: memory as private and belonging to the individual, and memory as inherently social and collective.

page 14: emil Fackenheim argues that the holocaust is a part of sacred history – a moment of revelation and that holocaust remembrance is a sacred duty, similar to the remembrance of the destruction of the Temple of the Ninth of AV.

page 15: [maybe in introduction?] Elie Wiesel writes “Auschwitz cannot be explained nor can it be visualized…. The dead are in possession of a secrete that we, the living, are neither worthy of nor capable of recovering …. The holocaust [is] the ultimate event, the ultimate mystery, never to be comprehended or transmitted. Only those who were there know what it was; the others will never know.” … “survivors had privileged interpretive authority.”

page 16 [The word Sacred] – Mircea Eliade [says] it is a reality of an entirely different order from that of natural reality. It is this complete separation from the order of the profane that is the most important quality of the sacred. to Rudolf Otto the founder of the academic study of religion in the 20th century, the sacred evokes the mysterium tremendum: a feeling of terror or awe before the sacred, which is beyond comprehension and “wholly other.”

page 16: Every sacred space implies a hierophany, an irruption of the sacred that results in detaching a territory from the surrounding cosmic milieu and making it qualitatively different

page 18 – Another essential characteristic of the sacred is its manifestation in time. The temporal and spatial experience of the sacred in museums is central to how this manuscripts proceeds.

The Sacred in Space: Museums


page 18 – The so-called hierophany in museum space is often signalled through thresholds, passageways or distinct boundaries, experiencing series of change in light, temperature and physical orientation.

pg 19 – Museums are, therefore, complex institutions that evolve through time and seek to fulfil a variety of task. Museums that exhibit the holocaust face a particular challenge: they seek to simultaneously provide witness, facilitate remembrance and educate their visitors.

pg 20 – In their task of representing what is often considered to be a unique and unparalleled even in history, holocaust museums and exhibits face the singular challenge of enabling visitors to perceive the sacred.

pg 20 – George F Madonald [states]: ” Sacred needs are tied to the role of museums as pilgrimage sites.”


The Sacred In Time: Memory

page 25: Temporality in the Jewish Museum Berlin is very different from that of Yad Vashem. Whereas time in Yad Vashem is messianic .. triumphantly gesturing toward a redemptive ending. the sense of time in the Jewish museum berlin, as depicted through its architecture is fractured. This sense of time is an extension of the negative sacred in space .. unlike Yad Vashem,, whose call to remembrance is rooted in the very stability of the place and in celebration of homecoming, the Jewish Museum Berlin testifies to a permanent displacement in both time and place.

page 25: [USHMM american narrative] The permanent exhibition begins with the libeartion of the Ohrdruf concentration camp by American troops then skips backwards in time to document rise of NAtional Socialism. From here, the permanent exhibition follows a linear, chronological development, concluding with the testimony of survivors who immigrated to the United States and began new lives. This progression places visitors  in a specifically American narrative that begins with a uniquely American Perspective.



[research Edward T. Linenthal, Oren Baruch Stier, James E young ]


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