Between Globalization and Particularization of Memories: Screen Images of the Holocaust in Germany and Poland

in German Politics and Society
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With the increasing medialization of cultural memory regarding

World War II and the Holocaust, cinematic texts become significant

components of our remembrance. Not only videotaped witness testimonies

but also documentaries and fictional films make up the growing

body of visual material that tells of the wartime past and the way

we remember it. Today, the great majority of the filmmakers depicting

the Holocaust on screen—as well as their audiences—belong to

the so-called second and third generations. Born too late to have witnessed

the murder of Europe’s Jews, these film directors nonetheless

declare a very strong personal connection to the past they never

knew. Their renditions of this past is, as Marianne Hirsch argues,

driven by the “postmemory,” a type of memory in which the connection

to its object or source is mediated not through recollection

but rather through imagination and creation.