Title

If This is History -- Holocaust Memorial Culture and the Presentation of its History and Memory

Department

History

Publication Year

2015

Abstract

This paper discusses Holocaust memorial culture and analyzes how museums, memorials sites, tourism, memoirs, and Holocaust denial have shaped the conversation of memory, presentation, and preservation. Specifically, this paper critiques the methods employed by curators, artists, and historians who interpret witness testimonies, memoirs, the crime scenes of the Holocaust's brutality, and secondary scholarly sources in order to create various aspects of memorial culture. In addition, this paper analyzes the way these sites are consumed by tourists. In order to accomplish this, I chose to use TripAdvisor reviews of concentration camp memorial sites across Europe because the comments reveal moral and ethical controversies. Holocaust memorial culture matters because history and memory is often in conflict. Museums and memorials not only educate current generations about the Holocaust but also about genocide awareness. These sites will become the basis of understanding Holocaust memory generations later, therefore, their presentation of the past should be humane, relevant, intellectual, truthful, and most importantly respectful. The Holocaust is a topic ripe with emotion, pain, and discomfort, yet despite these obstacles, we have a responsibility to ensure that this history, and its survivors and victims are represented honestly.

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