-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
Allan Mitchell, 1933—2016
Participation and Agency in Architectural Memorializations of the 1993 Solingen Arson Attack
through my fieldwork on architectural memorializations of the 1993 Solingen arson attack. I begin by detailing the prominent role that publicness and participation have played in these memorializations and the various tensions and contestations
Berlin and Leipzig
Jon Berndt Olsen
This paper explores the memorial projects in Berlin and Leipzig, Germany, to commemorate the fall of communism and the reunification of Germany. While neither memorial has yet been completed, the debates reveal a great deal of tension between the memorial preferences of ordinary citizens and those of the elected political elite. Further, the debates illustrate the emergence in a large segment of society of a desire to balance the memories of Germany’s darker past with positive memories of its accomplishments.
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.
The memory landscape in Germany has been lauded for its pluralism: for reckoning with the past not only critically but in its many complex facets. Nevertheless, particularly victims of repression in East Germany lament that their plight is not adequately represented and some have recently affiliated themselves with the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party and other groups on the far-right spectrum. This article seeks to explain the seeming contradiction between existing pluralism in German public memory and dissatisfaction with it by tracing how memory activists have shaped memory policy and institutions. Based on extensive interview and archival research, I argue that the infiltration of civil society into the institutions that govern memory in large part explains the strength of critical memory in unified Germany and the country’s ability to accommodate a variety of pasts. However, there is also a distinct lack of pluralism when it comes to the rules of “how memory is done,” to the exclusion of more emotional and politicized approaches that are sometimes favored by some victims’ groups. Using the case of the recent debate about the Hohenschönhausen Memorial, I contend that this explains some of the attraction felt by these groups towards the right.
Encountering the Missing in Postwar Bosnia-Herzegovina
missing, however, there is no body to start with, and the ambivalence of absence deeply affects many practices around the missing, such as attempts to memorialize them. I suggest that it is the specific in-betweenness of missing persons that makes them
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.