‘Your Story Too?’

The New Holocaust Exhibition at the Imperial War Museum
  • Steven Cooke
Chapter

Abstract

The landscapes of the Holocaust are many and varied. They encompass the sites of camps and killing fields of Europe, but also too the memorial landscapes that reference the myriad ways in which the post-war world has attempted to frame our memory of the events that we call the Holocaust. Discussion surrounding representations of the Holocaust, in a variety of different media, has come to the fore in recent years and has prompted heated and sometimes acrimonious debate.

Keywords

Europe Assimilation Expense Smoke Posit 

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Simon Schama, Landscape and Memory (London: Fontana Press, 1995), p.26.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Alan Borg, Introduction, Imperial War Museum Guidebook (London: Imperial War Museum, 1989), p.1.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    See inter alia, Saul Friedlander (ed.), Probing the Limits of Representation (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992);Google Scholar
  4. Lawrence Langer, Holocaust Testimonies: the Ruins of Memory (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1991);Google Scholar
  5. James E. Young, The Texture of Memory: Holocaust Memorials and Meaning (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993);Google Scholar
  6. James E. Young (ed.), The Art of Memory: Holocaust Memorials in History (Munich: Prestel-Verlag, 1994). Also see the work of artists in Germany, struggling to come to terms with Holocaust memory through counter, or anti-monuments which attempt to deny any heroic reference within their work (see Young, Texture of Memory), and also debates over the appropriateness of the Rachel Whiteread design for the Vienna Holocaust memorial.Google Scholar
  7. 4.
    Tony Kushner, The Holocaust and the Liberal Imagination, A Social and Cultural History (Oxford UK and Cambridge USA: Blackwell, 1994).Google Scholar
  8. 5.
    Henri Rousso, The Vichy Syndrome, History and Memory in France since1944 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1991), p.2.Google Scholar
  9. 8.
    Quoted in Stephen Brook, The Club, The Jews of Modern Britain (London, Sydney and Auckland: Pan Books, 1989), p.421.Google Scholar
  10. 11.
    See inter alia, Tim Cole, Images of the Holocaust. The Myth of the Shoah Business (London: Duckworth 1999);Google Scholar
  11. Isabel Wollaston, A War Against Memory? The Future of Holocaust Remembrance (London: SPCK, 1996).Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Andrew Charlesworth, ‘Teaching the Holocaust Through Landscape Study: The Liverpool Experience’, Immigrants and Minorities, 13/1 (March 1994): 65–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 27.
    For example, Bill Williams recounted an episode during an exhibition at the Manchester Jewish Museum called ‘Synagogue and Society’ in which there was conflict over having pictures of both Reform and Orthodox synagogues on the same wall. The Holocaust too, can have different religious interpretations. He highlighted the belief among some sections of the Ultra Orthodox community that the Holocaust was sent as a punishment for assimilation and a lapse in faith. ‘The Holocaust is bound to be a tool in religious conflict, whether it be social or personal’ (Williams, personal communication, 8 September 1996). It must also be remembered that there is no one Jewish community, and it is perhaps more appropriate to talk of the ‘communities’ of the Anglo-Jewish population rather than community in the singular. The histories of successive waves of Jewish immigration have contributed to the heterogeneity of the Anglo-Jewish population that is dissected and fractured along line of gender, class, ethnicity and religion. See Howard Cooper and Paul Morrison, A Sense of Belonging. Dilemmas of British Jewish Identity (London: Weidenfield and Nicolson in association with Channel Four Television Company Ltd., 1991);Google Scholar
  14. Jonathan Webber (ed.), Jewish Identifies in the New Europe (London and Washington: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 1994).Google Scholar
  15. 28.
    George Steiner in Stephen Brook, The Club. The Jews of Modern Britain (London, Sydney and Auckland: Pan Books, 1989), p.421Google Scholar
  16. 37.
    Yitzak Mais, Commemorating the Shoah — Are there different Holocaust?, Forum, Summer/Autumn 1993; Zygmunt Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1989)Google Scholar
  17. 48.
    Mais, Commemorating the Shoah; Raul Hilberg, Perpetrators Victims Bystanders: The Jewish Catastrophe1933–1945 (London: Secker and Warburg, 1993).Google Scholar
  18. 51.
    It needs to be understood, however, that this model is built on ideological assumptions about the nature of the victims of the perpetrators. For example it asserts the primacy of the Holocaust at the expense of other groups, such as Romany and Sinti peoples. In addition, his assertion of the undesirability of a museum in Germany placing a ‘heavy emphasis on the bystander or lack of world response’ as this might alleviate feelings of German responsibility, is underpinned by the ideological construction that the German population under the Nazis was somehow fundamentally different to those of the rest of Europe. See also Christopher Browning, Ordinary Men: Reserve Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland (New York: Harper Collins, 1992) andGoogle Scholar
  19. Daniel J. Goldhagen Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and Holocaust (London: Abacus, 1996) for differing conceptions of German racism.Google Scholar
  20. 56.
    Geoffrey Alderman, Modern British Jewry (Oxford: Clarendon, 1992); Kushner, The Holocaust and the Liberal Imagination. Google Scholar
  21. 59.
    Sharon Macdonald, ‘Cultural Imagining Among Museum Visitors’, Museum Management and Curatorship, 11 (1992): 401–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 60.
    For example, see Tony Bennett, The Birth of the Museum: History, Theory and Politics (London and New York: Routledge, 1995).Google Scholar
  23. 61.
    Ronnie S. Landau, Studying the Holocaust. Issues, Readings and Documents (London and New York: Routledge, 1998) p.5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 62.
    See Brooks, The Club; Cooper and Morrison, A Sense of Belonging; Paul Johnson, A History of the Jews (London: Orion Books Ltd., 1987).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2001

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  • Steven Cooke

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