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Holocaust ashes in and beyond memorial sites and museums
Zuzanna Dziuban

This article focuses on ongoing contestations around burned human remains originating from the Holocaust, their changing meanings and dynamics, and their presence/absence in Holocaust-related debates, museums and memorial sites. It argues that ashes challenge but also expand the notion of what constitutes human remains, rendering them irreducible to merely bones and fleshed bodies, and proposes that incinerated remains need to be seen not as a ‘second rate’ corporeality of the dead but as a different one, equally important to engage with – analytically, ethically and politically. Challenging the perception of ashes as unable to carry traces of the personhood of the of the dead, and as not capable of yielding evidence, I posit that, regardless of their fragile corporality, incinerated human remains should be considered abjectual and evidential, as testifying to the violence from which they originated and to which they were subjected. Moreover, in this article I consider incinerated human remains through the prism of the notion of vulnerability, meant to convey their susceptibility to violence – violence through misuse, destruction, objectification, instrumentalisation and/or museum display. I argue that the consequences of the constantly negotiated status of ashes as a ‘second rate’ corporeality of human remains include their very presence in museum exhibitions – where they, as human remains, do not necessarily belong.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Rémi Korman

Representations of Rwanda have been shaped by the display of bodies and bones at Tutsi genocide memorial sites. This phenomenon is most often only studied from the perspective of moral dimensions. This article aims in contrast to cover the issues related to the treatment of human remains in Rwanda for commemorative purposes from a historical perspective. To this end, it is based on the archives of the commissions in charge of genocide memory in Rwanda, as well as interviews with key memorial actors. This study shows the evolution of memorial practices since 1994 and the hypermateriality of bodies in their use as symbols, as well as their demobilisation for the purposes of reconciliation policies.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Spiritual care and memory activism at the former Republic of Vietnam military cemetery
Đạt Nguyễn

Following the end of the Vietnam–American War in 1975, the commemoration of the fallen soldiers of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) remains a difficult issue. The post-war Vietnamese state has marginalised ARVN dead from its national commemorative practices, while it has destroyed or neglected former South Vietnam memorial sites. This article provides an examination of recent efforts by local ARVN former combatants, living relatives of fallen soldiers and young Vietnamese to attend to the upkeep of the former ARVN cemetery in southern Vietnam. Based on participant observation and interviews, I explore how people care for the dead through regular acts of grave maintenance and religious rituals. I show that, through these persistent practices of care, southern Vietnamese engage in a form of memory activism to ensure the continual existence of the cemetery and lay claims to the right to mourn for the marginalised dead.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Ulf Zander

-Belsen, Buchenwald, and Dachau. 13 Over time, though, Auschwitz has increasingly become the dominant symbol of Nazi genocide. Whereas the other extermination camps were pulled down by the Nazis to conceal what had happened there, Auschwitz was left in a relatively undamaged state after the war. Moreover, during the Cold War there were various political and ideological reasons in both Eastern and Western Europe for making Auschwitz a central memorial site, which required not only the re-creation of the camp but also reprioritization and

in Raoul Wallenberg
Chris Pearson

have passed into legend as hardy and lucky survivors of the Somme battles and are treated as authentic remnants of the war years. As the environment has changed around them and human survivors die, the trees’ significance has increased. A recent postcard of ‘The Last Tree’ describes it as the ‘original living witness of the Delville Wood Battle’. As is the case at other battlefield memorial sites, such as Gettysburg in the United States, the trees are called upon to bear witness to the slaughter that once unfolded around them.80 Trees were mobilized to support the

in Mobilizing nature
Open Access (free)
Individuality, identification and multidirectional memorialisation in post-genocide Rwanda
Ayala Maurer-Prager

to retain its force as subject or stand as object. Enabled by a context of mass violence in which death ceases to singularly signify exceptional abjectness because of the ubiquity with which it is seen and experienced, identifications between the living subject and the corpse are enacted within new parameters. Rwanda’s corpses  –​viewed by many as the ultimate evidence of her genocidal history –​have become a literal part of the country’s landscape. At memorial sites such as Murambi, Nyamata and Nyarubuye, decomposing bodies and the bones of the dead commemorate

in Human remains in society
Ken Gelder

how these killings might be memorialised today. 1 When a massacre site becomes a memorial site, it can also become a place of repatriation and help towards reconciliation and a fuller, truer understanding of the sheer scale of colonial violence on the frontier. More inclusive forms of commemoration – if we think, for example, about recent calls to include the names of more Aboriginal soldiers killed abroad in the commemorative

in Graveyard Gothic
Abstract only
Heritage and transformation in Nelson Mandela Bay

The book focuses on the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, using the city as a case study to read the ways in which memory is being written into South African urban space two decades after the end of apartheid. At the core of the book is the question of how history is written into public space, and how inscriptions of the past and its meanings are being challenged. This reading of public space and memory is located in a context where the promises of ‘reconciliation’ and the ‘rainbow nation’ are largely falling apart, and one in which South African cities remain in dire need of dramatic spatial and social transformation. The book is organised around four examples of memorial sites/practices, highlighting some of the ways in which public memory has been circumscribed by the state as well as the ways in which this circumscription has been contested. These include the Red Location Museum of Struggle, a highly contentious museum project; histories of forced removals in the suburb of South End; the activism and iconography of a group called the Amabutho, which was active in the city’s townships during the struggles of the 1980s; and heritage-related public art projects in the city centre. These examples collectively illuminate the spatial politics of memory in the twenty-first-century post-apartheid city, and the intersections between urban transformation and public memory.

Open Access (free)
The politics of exhumation in post-genocide Rwanda
Rémi Korman

cemeteries and memorial sites. However, administrative rationalization also occurred following a new round of regional reforms. Each district was now required to have its own genocide cemetery, which therefore involved further consolidation. The most contentious matter in this respect concerned bodies being buried by surviving family members on their own land. Following numerous land reforms, in particular in the city of Kigali, large-scale expropriations and population movements have occurred since the end of the 1990s. This new situation has made keeping bodies on

in Human remains and identification
Open Access (free)
Jenny Edkins

some photographs. The crowds are milling around, gathering, forming into groups. There are plenty of notices here – information about opening hours, what is not permitted, warning that there are no public restrooms on site – and one in a different format, black on white, telling us that this is a memorial site and demanding our respect. I’d read and been told by a friend about the security measures and the long walk from EDKINS 9781526119032 PRINT.indd 114 22/02/2019 08:34 loss of a loss 115 3  Entrance, 9/11 Memorial, May 2014 the entrance to the site itself

in Change and the politics of certainty