Experiencing the Void: Architectural Representation of the Trauma of the Holocaust
Bryn Mawr College. Department of History of Art
Place of Publication
Table of Contents
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Different countries have a different relationship to the Holocaust, and as such, represent their relationship in varied ways. These relationships have produced levels of trauma that differ across countries and across generations. Different museums around the world work to interpret and represent these relationships with regards to that country's national identity and relationship with the Holocaust. Daniel Libeskind's Jewish Museum Berlin in Germany uses a dark, eerie void-–Holocaust Tower-–to represent the irreplaceable loss of 80,000 Jews to Berlin. In Jerusalem, Yad Vashem, designed by Moshe Safdie employs two different architectural spaces, the Hall of Names and the viewpoint of Jerusalem, to remind visitors that there are Jews who currently thrive in Israel, asking visitors to plant themselves in the future. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum on the National Mall in Washington DC, designed by James Ingo Freed, has a hexagonal, airy, spiritual hall called the Hall of Remembrance, which allows visitors to sit with the horror of the Holocaust but also inspires unbridled remembrance or reflection. No void is "correct" or serves as the "model" for all other voids. Nor is there a particular element that must be used for a void to be considered done right. It must allow for recognition of an emptiness, but this does not mean necessarily being empty.