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Maria Pia Di Bella

Places of traumatic or miraculous events have often become sites to be visited by the victims or the faithful who were part of the event, by their heirs, by the community, or by strangers and tourists who feel compelled to come in order to better understand the event. Sometimes monuments are constructed on the physical site of the event to underline its historical importance and the necessity to remember it. Often, in a city or a geographic area, the traumatic events have taken place in different localities, giving rise to a trail that people follow in order to commemorate the event (from Jerusalem’s Via Dolorosa to Boston’s Freedom’s Trail).

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Walking Memory

Berlin's “Holocaust Trail“

Maria Pia Di Bella

Since the early 1990s, Berlin has developed what I call a “Holocaust trail“-circa twenty-five officially dedicated memorial sites recalling significant historical events leading to the Final Solution-without acknowledging it yet as a “trail.“ Berlin is already well known for its two famous museums-memorials: the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (2005) and the Jewish Museum (2001), two strong statements meant to show how the town deals with the heritage of the Holocaust, how it tries to underline the absolute impossibility of its erasure from social memory and to fight revisionism. The different memorial sites of the Holocaust trail came into existence thanks to multiple initiatives that allowed the town to become a true laboratory for the politics of memory concerning the crimes of the Nazi state and the sufferings of the Jewish citizens that fell victim to the state's genocide.

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Robert Davis, Maria Pia Di Bella, John Eade, and Garry Marvin

Recognising that the beginning of a new millennium can also signal a broadening interest in looking at our world in new ways, the editors of Journeys present this new journal dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of travel and travel writing. To say that travelling, touristing or simple wandering are among the most widespread of human activities is only to claim the obvious: this has been the case since the beginnings of our species, even if it has only been during the last century or so that the true economic and social import of travel – within cities, from hills to plains, between continents – has become clearly understood and delineated.