Etched in Metal and Stone: The Local Contexts of Holocaust Remembrance at Three Memorials
Haverford College. Department of History
Place of Publication
Table of Contents
Holocaust memorials' physical structures and interpretations are necessarily mediated and shaped by local contexts, including place and the particular time of construction. Three monuments from across a wide geographic and temporal range show the broad influence of local contexts on physical and rhetorical manifestations of Holocaust commemoration. The planners of the 1964 Monument to the Six Million Jewish Martyrs in Philadelphia made frequent references to Jewish history and religious principles, the triumphant establishment of Israel, and American patriotism. The 1990 Miami Beach Holocaust Memorial is seen by its architect, monument planners, and visitors as a place especially of mourning for those lost in the Holocaust, as well as a conduit for education, resonant with the vigorous focus on the Holocaust in academia during the 1980s. The 2005 Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin is considered by many to be an expression of German guilt for the Nazis' attempted genocide of the Jewish people, or even a tool for overcoming the nation's shame, after a West German historical reexamination of its Nazi past during the Historikerstreit and reunification. The memorials discussed demonstrate the extent to which the past takes a back seat to the present when events are being commemorated through physical structures.