Mechtild Widrich
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The Cold War in stone – and plastic
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This chapter examines multidirectional commemoration in a particularly loaded site—a park in West Berlin, Steinplatz, used since the early 1950s to remember both Holocaust victims and‘victims of Stalinism through a pair of adjacent memorials. The omissions and contradictions of West and East German (and, by extension European memory culture) appear in especially stark light given contemporary efforts to carry out museum and Holocaust education for a multinational, multi-religious public in German cities like Berlin and Frankfurt. Accordingly, the chapter examines efforts to open up commemoration to other voices and traditions, both on the Steinplatz, and in the digital public sphere, through selfies and debates about representing oneself at sites of commemoration. Monument tourism, the coexistence of multiple communities on the same site simultaneously and at different times, and the difficulty of seeing history in the urban fabric of a frequently rebuilt metropolis like Berlin are considered, as is the controversy over ‘Holocaust selfies’. The chapter ends with a monument design by Yael Bartana in Frankfurt that takes account of the ludic potential in commemoration, a tribute to the Jewish children who left Germany in the Kindertransport taking the form of a functional merry-go-round.

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Monumental cares

Sites of history and contemporary art


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