How do groups of people produce particular markers of the past in the urban landscape? The terrain of markers in a given neighborhood, city, or country can result from the top-down vision of a centralized elite-or the relatively diverse, even contradictory, layers of multiple eras and multiple interest groups and actors. In post 1989 Berlin, the memorial landscape is a heterogeneous collection of statues, plaques, and conceptual memorial projects relating to various eras in the city?s nearly eight centuries of existence. More widely known sites may be created in somewhat top-down ways, and be the responsibility of federal and state officials. But, much memorial work happens at the district level, and in the hands of an array of local activists. This local responsibility clearly indicates the active involvement of both easterners and westerners in local democratic and civic processes in general, and in activities that shape the memorial terrain in particular. Despite the inequality of unification and the extensive institutional transfer that happened in many sectors of the political and economic arenas, many eastern Berliners play active roles in the civic life in general and memorial culture in particular of their neighborhoods and districts. These local practices result from the civic participation (and arguably social integration) of a range of Berlin?s residents, in both the eastern and western halves of the city.
Jennifer A. Jordan
Allan Mitchell, 1933—2016
-President Obama’s efforts to help the underprivileged and uninsured were under siege. This being a Memorial written for an academic journal, Allan’s personal and family life can only be mentioned in passing. But it should not be forgotten that, after his marriage
Phyllis Cohen Albert and Alex Sagan
George L. Mosse died on January 22, 1999, leaving a legacy of scholarly innovation in the study of European, German, and German-Jewish history. The memorial symposium of October 1, 1999 that produced the following articles brought together some of the many students, colleagues, and friends who were deeply influenced by Mosse’s life and work. They offered reflections on his contributions as researcher, author, teacher, and friend.
This article investigates the politics of representing everyday life (Alltag) in the German Democratic Republic in state-mandated museums and memorials in the contemporary Federal Republic. Through an analysis of advertising material, exhibits, and visitor surveys, it considers how managers of “auratic” sites have responded to the challenge posed by interpretations of the East German state that resist the focus on repression, as well as the impact of this response on different visitor groups. The discussion focuses on two established sites—Gedenkstätte Hohenschönhausen and Forschungs- und Gedenkstätte Normannenstraße—as well as the exhibition in the Tränenpalast in Berlin, opened in September 2011. It argues that state-supported sites frequently seek to contain memories of Alltag by reinterpreting the term to mean the extraordinary experiences of ordinary people. Nonetheless, overly didactic interpretations that leave little space for individual meaning-making risk disinheriting those whose memories are based on social and economic security, rather than state violence. The article argues that there is a tension in these museums and memorials between a desire to present a singular view of the East German state as the second German dictatorship and the recognition that the “active visitor” brings his or her own experiences, interests and memories to public history sites.
Is the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin a Jewish space? How are Jews presented there? What are the points of interest about Jews in the memorial from the perspective of the foundation that runs it as well as from various visitors' perspectives? This article focuses on interaction and performance at the memorial, an understudied topic in comparison to what the memorial presents in its installation and the debates that preceded its realisation. I argue that the memorial's form and location create interpretation strategies that are based on the dialectics of representation and non-representation, emotional experience versus knowledge about the Holocaust. This is differently manifested in the action of various groups visiting the memorial. Interpretation strategies rest on Jews being a category of memory. In substantiating this claim, I focus on the experience of German visitors, compared to that of Jewish visitors and claim that whereas Jews' experience of the site is directly linked to sharing intimate knowledge about the Holocaust, Germans tend to talk about the site metaphorically and in emotional terms, confirming the memorial's own ontology.
On Funeral and Mourning Practices in Digital Art
The practical and imaginative possibilities offered by art works and art strategies have always been interesting for anthropological research. Analyzing an artistic endeavor that understands the dead as social software, the article investigates contemporary conceptualizations of death and grieving within modern informational economies. This article ethnographically considers the etoy “Mission Eternity Project“ which, among other artforms, has created a mobile sepulchre to investigate and challenge conventional practices of the disposal of the dead and of memorialization. The article seeks to generate terms for discussing how new artistic, digital and forensic technologies can reconfigure the more ordinary ways of dealing with the dead. The analysis is significantly informed by my previous anthropological work on practices of the collection, classification and DNA analysis of dead bodies in postconflict Serbia and Tasmania.
James E. Young
The question as to why a national monument to the “Murdered Jews
of Europe” should be erected in Berlin is multi-dimensional, and has
answers in political, cultural, and historical contexts. As most people
already know, I once took a hard stand against actually ever completing
a central memorial in Germany to the Holocaust. “Better a
thousand years of Holocaust memorial competitions in Germany
than any final solution to Germany’s Holocaust memorial problem,”
I wrote many years ago. “Instead of a fixed icon for Holocaust memory
in Germany, the debate itself—perpetually unresolved amid everchanging
conditions—might now be enshrined.”
In 1997, Hinrich Seeba offered a graduate seminar on Berlin at the University of California, Berkeley. He called it: "Cityscape: Berlin as Cultural Artifact in Literature, Art, Architecture, Academia." It was a true German studies course in its interdisciplinary and cultural anthropological approach to the topic: Berlin, to be analyzed as a "scape," a "view or picture of a scene," subject to the predilections of visual perception in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This course inspired my research on contemporary German history as represented in Berlin's Holocaust memorials. The number and diversity of these memorials has made this city into a laboratory of collective memory. Since the unification of East and West Germany in 1990, memorials in Berlin have become means to shape a new national identity via the history shared by both Germanys. In this article, I explore two particular memorials to show the tension between creating a collective, national identity, and representing the cultural and historical diversity of today's Germany. I compare the Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas (Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe, or "national Holocaust memorial") which opened in central Berlin on May 10, 2005, to the lesser known, privately sponsored, decentralized "stumbling stone" project by artist Gunter Demnig.
Terezín Memorial Principova alej 304 CZ-411 55 Terezín http://www.pamatnik-terezin.cz As Andrea Huyssen observes, 1 since the 1990s the preservation of Holocaust heritage has become a worldwide phenomenon, and this “difficult heritage” has also
The Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon opened on 23 April 1879 with a performance of Much Ado About Nothing; sixty-five year old Helen Faucit, long semi-retired from the stage, played the role of Beatrice. This essay explores the cultural politics informing the event from the perspective of Faucit's involvement, exploring her significance to the performance and the performance's significance to her through a series of textual lenses - including theatre reviews, Faucit's personal correspondence, her critical work On Some of Shakespeare's Female Characters and Sir Theodore Martin's posthumous biography of his wife. From a public perspective, Faucit endowed the supposedly provincial town of Stratford, its festival and its new theatrical institution with national stature; from the actress's private perspective, the event was both a professional engagement and a community celebration among old and new friends, bringing together the different facets of her long personal engagement with Shakespeare.