College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
BA (Bachelor of Arts)
Session and Year of Graduation
Honors Major Advisor
The historical narrative is a living entity easily influenced by interpretation and reinterpretation of ideologies, events, and conflicts. The development of a concrete narrative surrounding events, such as the Holocaust, can mask or expose horrifying crimes against humanity. The public memorial is one of many tools used by societies to help shape the events of the past into the rhetoric of the future. After the close of the Second World War, Germany became a state riddled with memorials attempting to integrate the horrors of the Holocaust with a continuously developing German identity. These monuments and the narratives they embodied explicitly helped to shape the national narrative of the Holocaust in German culture, and this narrative has been redefined over time.
Recently, the construction of the Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas (DEJE) or Holocaust Denkmal in Berlin, attempted to integrate an understanding of Jewish Suffering during the Holocaust into the German national narrative of trauma. After fifteen years, the monument has developed a permanent position in the landscape and character of Berlin. It serves as a major tourist attraction and is visited by half a million people a year. This piece will analyze major themes present in the methods through which individuals and organizations interact with the DEJE. The analysis will focus on how the monument is interacted with on behavioral, photographic, and political levels, in an attempt to understand how individuals and German culture have begun to interact with a physical embodiment of a narrative of Jewish suffering, present in the heart of Germany.
Holocaust, Denkmal, Memory Culture