Remembering to Remember – Museums and Atrocity Photos

pg 194 – The museum boom of the eighties and nineties created an additional memory agent that helped revive the atrocity photos. Museums generated additional venues in which to visually contemplate the holocaust.

pg 195 – “might be inappropriate for display in the entrance of a museum where all would have to confront it, whether they chose to or not, but would be appropriate in a show which was properly labeled and hung so that only those who chose to confront the photographs would be required to do so.”

pg 195 – Such an issue came to a head in 1995, surrounding a photographic exhibit of the camps in Israel’s Holocaust museum, Yad Vashem. The long – standing exhibit of images showed naked women and generated a debate over whether the pictures violated ultra religious Orthodox notion of modesty. When the Orthodox Jews demanded that the photographs be taken down, questions persisted as to whether removing the graphic images in effect sanitized Nazi atrocities.

Recycling the Pas into The Future.

They sit in our consciousness as half-repressed photographs and newsreels, the first images – always present reminders of what is now called the Holocaust.” [Abzug, Inside the vicious p ix]

pg 200 – Susan Sontag said long ago that the atrocity photos had lost their power as vessels of recollection, reaching “a saturation point” and revealing that “concerned’ photography has done at least to deaden conscience as to arouse it.”

pg 201 – In empowering both those who seek authentication of Nazi atrocities and those who deny them, atrocity and those who deny them, atrocity photos thereby threaten to become a representation without substance . [susan sontag , On Photography (p 21)


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