Monthly Archives: September 2016

pg 60 – Apart from its genocidal aims, what distinguished the NAzi crime against the Jews was the intent of the criminals to leave behind no witnesses and , hence, no record at all . The holocaust was to be a total, silent deed – in the words of one of its key perpetrators, “an unwritten and never-to-be-written page of glory” [The words are Himmler’s addressed to a group of SS officers on cotber 4, 1943; quoted in Lucy Dawidowicz, a Holocaust reader (herman house, new york, 1976) p. 133

pg 64 – “what happened, happened. But that ir happened cannot be so easily accpeted. I rebel: against my past, against history, and against a present that places the incomprehensible in the cold storage of history and thus falsifies it in a revolting way.”

every memorial not just holocaust memorial … are created at an intersection of aesthetic templar, political needs, economic realities of the moment.[1]

[1] Young, University of California, 2000 (

Wiederkehr des Flaneurs he writes:

“The superficial reason, the exotic, picturesque only affects foreigners. to come as a local to the image of a city, requires other, deeper motives. Motives of the one who travels into the past instead of the distance.”[1]  

[1] Benjamin, 1984, Ch 82 (from selected writings II 1927 – 1934)


Gavriel Rosenfeld believed that the meaning that we find in buildings … is determined subjectively by the differing expectations we bring to them. These expectations are largely informed by our social class, education, and aesthetic taste, but they are also shaped by the historical eras in which we live.[1]

[1] Rosenfeld,2011, P.45

The phenomenon raises ethical issues over the status and nature of objects, the extent of their interpretation, the appropriate political and managerial response and the nature of the experience as perceived by the visitor, their residents and local residents.[1]

[1] Foley , Lennon,  2000

Young believed that some people claim such a charge in places of “history”, but usually this aura is apparent only to those who already know something of the site’s past, or who suspect a site is somehow historical.[1]

[1] Young, P.119

The self-questioning of Germany’s Identity differentiates their memorials to that of Yad Vashem and USHMM. Yad Vashem gestures towards a redemptive end whilst the Jewish museum is fractured. The Jewish Museum, Berlin testifies to a permanent displacement in both time and place.[1]

[1] Hansen-Glucklich, 2014, P.25

“Memory is never shaped in a vacuum the motives of memory are never pure[1]“. – Young

[1] Hansen-Glucklich, 2014, P.10

pg 2 – The Jews in Europe were decimated by the Nazi genocide and lost their communal identity. In Germany and Eastern Europe that loss of community has been decisive, irreversible; in other parts of Europe, such as France and Italy , or in Israel and America, new communities have developed, though conscious of a perhaps fatal amputation, and caught between a morbid and a necessary remembrance.

pg 3. In the dawn of new life, moreover, the liberated were again shunned or disregarded like the proverbial messenger of bad news. Aharon Appelfield depicts the survivors as lapsing into a Big Sleep, not unlike the charmed amnesia of national assimilation from which they were so traumatically torn; and Haim Gouri documents the eye-opening impact of the Eichmann trial on an Israeli generation that had encouraged the dormancy of which Appelfeld writes.

pg 3 – For those who do not see the Holocaust as “just another calamity,” or who think that even were it comparable to other great massacres we should not allow it to fade from consciousness – because of its magnitude, its blatant criminality, its coordinated exploitation of all modern resources, cultural and technological, and the signal it sends how quickly racist feelings can be mobilised – for those m and i am of their number, post-historical is as unacceptable as historical relativisation .

pg 5 – “Curse God and die” may respond to our bitterness of heart, but what we generally do is seek a redemptive perspective to save the good name of humanity or of life itself. Yet the Final Solutions man-made calamity is exceptionally resistant to such a perspective. It threatens to remain an open grace, an open wound in consciousness. In fact, the passage of time has eroded redemptive as well as merely rationalising meanings faster than they can be replace. We become, in Mauric Blacnhot’s  words, “guardians of an absent meaning.” and in a gesture that is meant to be theoretical rather than religious, we then reflect on the limits of representation, questioning under the impact of this corrosive event our cultural achievements in criticisms, literature and historiography.

pg 8 – In Israel (not only in Germany ) the idea of overcoming the past has proved to be an illusion. On both the personal level and that of public policy there is enormous tension. For a long time Israel itself rejected the ethos of refuges who flooded in, while legitimating  itself (as it still does, and increasingly ) through Holocaust memory. The essays by Appelfeld and Gouri reflect this contraction but do not speak fully about the impact of the dead on the living. Or about the way the living appropriate the dead. The generation after, because of its closeness to the survivors, has the essential and ungrateful task of criticising specific aspects of a Holocaust remembrance that runs into a politics of memory [for more info see Saul Friedlander, “Shoah: between memory and history” The jerusalem Quarterly and Tom Segev, the Seventh Million : The Israelis and the Holocaust”]]

pg 11 (talking about walter benjamin) His famous essay of 1936, on the changing status of art in the era of mechanical reproduction, suggests that when techniques like photography transport objects from their original site, from their specific historical locus, they lose the aura of uniqueness. The reproducibility of art – and, by extension, of the newsworthy event – brings us closer to it yet also creates a further distance: a world in which presence is increasingly displaced by representation.

pg 17 –  It is not surprising that after the Holocaust so much guilt surfaces in the form of religious types of incrimination as well as reactive and exculpatory schemes of denial. With respect to guilt, there are many that question not only the treatment of immigrants but our entire history of behaviour toward the other – the stranger in our gates or the conquered and colonised. Our confidence with the West, in its claim to be civilized, is shaken. Yet, reactively, there are many that blame the victims or count themselves among their number or, seeing victims everywhere, equalise them all, undermine moral distinctions. So the waffen SS, buried in Bitburg cemetery, are also “victims” of the Third Reich, even though many of them may have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity , especially against Jews .

pg 19 – (n.q relate this to the memory of shoah every year in religion, the detachement in time and place, into why art is created at Yad Vashem but not in germany)  Art can and does move away from historical reference by a characteristic distancing. Moreover, even so estranging an event as the Shoah may have to be estranged again, through art, insofar as its symbols beecome trite and tirualistic rather than realizing…. The issue of how memory and history become art is always a complicated one; in the case of the Shoah the question is also whether they should become art. Adorno’s dictum ” to write poetry after Aushwitz is barbaric” was intended to be, as the context shows, a caution against the media and any aesthetic exploitation.


In two decades of contemplating what happened to me, I believe to have recognized that a forgiving and forgetting induced by social pressure is immoral. Whoever lazily and cheaply forgives, subjugates himself to the social and biological time-sense, which is also called the “natural” one. Natural consciousness of time actually is rooted in the physiological process of wound-healing and became part of the social conception of reality. But precisely for this reason it is not only extramoral, but also antimoral in character. Man has the right and the privilege to declare himself to be in disagreement with every natural occurrence, including the biological healing that time brings about. What happened, happened. This sentence is just as true as it is hostile to morals and intellect. The moral power to resist contains the protest, the revolt against reality, which is rational only as long as it is moral. The moral person demands annulment of time—in the particular case under question, by nailing the criminal to his deed. Thereby, and through a moral turning-back of the clock, the latter can join his victim as a fellow human being. (“Ressentiments” 72)4

Jean Amery, ´ Jenseits von Schuld und Suhne: Bew ¨ altigungsversuche eines ¨ Uberw ¨ altigten ¨ (Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 1977), 129–130.

pg 251 – Freud describes the trauma as a wound that cannot heal because it has never become a physical wound.

pg 251 – Amery is ostensibly concerned with what Karl Jaspers termed ´ the Schuldfrage, the question of German collective guilt.

pg 252- The central insight of Beyond the Pleasure Principle is that different kinds of events imply different senses of time through which they are experienced and interpreted. This means that certain events, which Freud calls traumatic, can challenge the epistemological frameworks not only of individuals but of communities and social institutions, by forcing them to adopt a different sense of time from that through which they usually make sense of their world.6

pg 253 – “master the stimulus retrospectively” (32). The individual’s mind is constantly trying to relive the original experience of the trauma in such a way that it can be experienced as a normal event. This is the only explanation, Freud tells us, for the troubling dreams experienced by those who are suffering from a traumatic neurosis (32–33).

pg 254 – [… ] the wound of the mind—the breach in the mind’s experience of time, self, and the world—is not, like the wound of the body, a simple and healable event, but rather an event that, like Tancred’s first infliction of a mortal wound on the disguised Clorinda [… ] imposes itself repeatedly, in the nightmares and repetitive actions of the survivor.[9 Cathy Caruth, Unclaimed Experience (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), 4.]

pg 255 – . Freud’s musings on the nature of time in the unconscious imply that the traumatic neurosis also includes a unique sense of time, distinct from that which characterizes our usual experience of the world, a sense of time defined not by succession and continuity but rather by rupture and repetition.

Jaspers argues there that only criminal and political guilt can be ascribed to a person by another—as opposed to “moral” and “metaphysical” guilt, which come from the individual’s own conscience—and that these, too, must admit to gradations and mitigations based on an individual’s implication in the crimes committed by members of his collective.15 [15Karl Jaspers, The Question of German Guilt, trans. E. B. Ashton (New York: Capricorn, 1961), 31–36.]

pg 261 – In two decades of contemplating what happened to me, I believe to have recognized that a forgiving and forgetting induced by social pressure is immoral” (72).

pg 262 – Ethics can be thought only from the position of a kind of counter-reality, whose troubling distance from our own stands revealed in the traumatic wound created by the crime—and the rift between these two worlds may, in fact, be another way of describing the traumatic wound Amery tells us is the ´ result of the crime.19

pg 267-268 – Another way of describing Amery’s engagement with the question ´ of ethics in Beyond Guilt and Atonement, then, might be to say that he demonstrates that the rift between the real, phenomenal world and the ideal world implied by Kant’s counterfactual phrase—as if we could all live in harmony as one united humanity in a “kingdom of ends”—opened up by the crime is a traumatic wound that cannot be healed

pg 187. The historical power of trauma is not just that the experience is repeated after its forgetting , but that it is only in and through its inherent forgetting that it is first experienced at all… For history to be a history of trauma means that it is referential precisely to the extent that it is not fully perceived as it occurs; or to put it somewhat differently that a history can be grasped only in the very inaccessibility of its occurrence.

[pg 189 (also quote taken from and traslanted Moses and Monotheism from sigmund Freud, Studienausgabe Band 9 , Frankfort on Main :1982) For the Invasion is characterized, not in terms of its attendant persecutions and threats, of which the Freud family did in fact have their share, but in terms of the somewhat different emphasis of a simple phrase: “it forced me to leave my home, but it also freed me”.

pg 192 – In the last line he write to his son , the last words – “to die in freedom” – are not, like the rest of the sentence , written in German, but rather in English. The announcement of his freedom , and of his dying, is given in a language that can be heard by those in the new place to which he brings his voice, to us …

pg 65 – The significance of Yad Vashem in Israeli culture extends far beyond its function as an institution of memory. As previously discussed, Charles S. Liebman and Eliezer Don-Yehiya describe Yad Vashem as playing a critical role in the Israeli civil religion. Defining civil religion as that which is “most holy and sacred in the political cultre,” the authors argue that civil religion provides a sacred legitimation of the social order and society in which it functions. Similarly, Omer Bartov has argues that in reference to the Holocaust the State of Israel acts as “both the consequence and the panacea”: the Holocaust wouldn’t have occurred if A Jewish state has already existed, and since the Holocaust did occur, a Jewish state becomes a necessity.

pg 66 -The new Holocaust History museum demonstrates the power of evocative architecture as it creates in its visitors and empathetic, visceral identification with the victims of the Holocaust and inspires a redemptive reading of its narrative. A variety of techniques serve these ends, including a carefully choreographed use of shapes, material, color, and the play between shadow and light.

pg 69 – From the outside the cut across the hilltop appears to slit open the ground, leaving an “archaelogical scar” that is “symbolically healed by the landscape itself”. [see ockman, place in the world]

pg 74 – At the end of the ritualized journey within Yad Vashem, visitors ascend the gradullay slanting floor and extis ” gloom of the subterranean passage way” onto a balcony framced by cantilevered wings. This balocny offers an expansive view, overlooking the Jerusalem hills, forests, and villages. This is an affirmative journye, redemptive in the end with the visitors reintegration into present-day Jerusalem – the spatial center of the realized Zionist dream. This “carhartic opening” has been described as a biblical tabernacle, a pair of wings, and the “exultant blast of a horn or trumpet”.