Polish Landscapes of Memory at the Sites of Extermination: The Politics of Framing

  • Zuzanna Dziuban
Part of the Palgrave Macmillan Memory Studies book series (PMMS)


In The Site, Despite Everything, a short essay on Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah, Georges Didi-Huberman describes the sites of the National Socialist death camps as ‘real but impossible sites’ (Didi-Huberman, 2007, p.114, original emphasis). Impossible, because unreachable for us today in their actuality as extermination centres, the sites are nonetheless real due to their insistent presence as unsettling reminders of the Holocaust - as long as returned to and artistically framed. The fact that there is an irreducible interplay between the sites’ inaccessible past as camps and their challenging present existence allows Didi-Huberman to recognize them as paradoxical ‘sites, despite everything’ (Didi-Huberman, 2007, p.115). Therefore, by addressing the aporia of the ‘return to the sites’ where the extermination took place, already nonexistent but tenaciously ‘still there’, the author of Images in Spite of All points out both the unreachability of the extermination camps and the necessity or moral obligation to continuously revisit and interrogate those sites through the agency of art. Hence, acknowledging the importance of aesthetic framings for ‘rendering visible’ and, in fact, producing camp sites as carriers of Holocaust memory that is of importance today, Didi-Huberman asks ‘what sorts of thoughts and what kinds of visualizations do the camp sites require of us?’ (Didi-Huberman, 2007, p.114).


Mass Grave Concrete Wall Burial Ground Camp Site Black Frame 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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