In this article I critically reflect on my experience with Holocaust memorials in Eastern Germany. When designing a memorial, there are many important questions for those building the memorial to consider. These questions include: What historical or social factors have contributed to the felt need for the creation of a memorial? What kind of thoughts, reactions, or emotional responses will the memorial evoke within the observer? Or, will the memorial provide the opportunity for physical or emotional interaction or a new understanding that is meaningful? In this analysis, I provide some historical background for the creation of memorials in East Germany and the desire to preserve and learn from the past. I then describe my personal experiences with and reactions to some of these memorials, and end with a cautionary reflection from East Germany about how public memory can be abused. Based on these experiences, I conclude that the best way to memorialize past atrocities is for designers to include a diversity of responses that are able to engage people in multiple ways, including cognitive and abstract representations of the event or people being memorialized.
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Cox, Brady Kal
"A Personal Reflection on the Nature and Value of Public Memory in Holocaust Memorials,"
Conversations: A Graduate Student Journal of the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Theology: Vol. 3
, Article 1.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.acu.edu/conversations/vol3/iss1/1