Chapter four takes a further step into the specific healing interactions
between Muslim patients, psychiatrists, and Quranic healers by analysing how
the Islamic and psychiatric treatments that are shown in the accompanying
film depend on an oscillation between making visible and keeping invisible –
between giving a tangible visual form to the suffering of patients and to
possible paths for their healing, and yet simultaneously disabling and
dismantling other possible visualisations. Iconoclastic practices in both
psychiatric healthcare and Islamic exorcism are related to the issue of
faith in healing and the necessity of doubt in order to attain faith. The
widely disputed notion of ‘patient’ is of key importance. In contrast to
recent user-oriented and holistic approaches in psychiatry, as well as a
number of studies in medical anthropology that tend to emphasise healing as
an effect of human self-creativity, the issue in the treatments the author
studied was not framed in terms of how to gain agency; rather, the main
concern was ‘how to become a patient’, which involved the surrender of
individual agency in favour of allowing something else to do the work of
The chapter will show how both the Soviet authorities and the leaders of independent Ukraine attempted to block real investigation and commemoration at the hamlet of Bykivnia, where the NKVD buried murdered bodies from 1939-1941. The chapter will look into how their attempts failed due to pressure from within—grave robbers and activists—and, especially, without—Germany and Poland. Following this account, details about the little-known Nazi and Soviet exhumations at the site will be examined.
In the immediate aftermath of World War II and the Holocaust, Poland was quite literally a vast Jewish cemetery. In fields, forests, by the side of roads, and in Jewish cemeteries throughout the country, the corpses of dead Jews were buried helter-skelter in mass graves, partially buried in an apparent rush, or even left unburied. Even Jews who had no intentions of remaining in postwar Poland returned to their home towns resolved to fulfill a solemn duty to give the dead a proper burial, if possible in a Jewish cemetery. Using several yizkor books, this chapter will examine the efforts of Polish Jewish survivors to exhume the corpses of their dead and then rebury them with dignity in accordance with Jewish ritual and the role of memory in depiction of this act.
The chapter will examine how forensic scientists, including anthropologists, have been exploring the potential of new methods and processes in the resolution of mass grave contexts. The introduction of DNA to contexts where these challenges exist has had some success in the Balkans and in Guatemala, two areas that have experienced brutal civil wars for a number of years. More recently, the analysis of elemental and osteometric measures on the body have demonstrated potential in attempts to re-associate remains. Ultimately however, technological developments complement extensive ante-mortem investigation and the two cannot be utilised independently if the required end result is to successfully identify victims.