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|Title: ||From Victim Hierarchies to Memorial Networks: Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial to Sinti and Roma Victims of National Socialism|
|Authors: ||Blumer, Nadine|
|Advisor: ||Bodemann, Y. Michal|
|Issue Date: ||5-Jan-2012|
|Abstract: ||In April 1989, four months after a German citizens’ initiative proposed construction of a central memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, Romani Rose, chair of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma, published a petition demanding inclusion of the Sinti and Roma victims into the same memorial. Any other outcome, he wrote, would indicate a “hierarchy of victims” (die Zeit). The Berlin Wall fell seven months later, transforming the political and spatial dimensions of Germany’s commemorative landscape. So began a new phase of contestation – a national memorial project at its centre – over the so-called uniqueness of the (Jewish) Holocaust, and the moral and political responsibility of the newly reunified German state for genocide committed against Jewish and “other” victim groups.
This dissertation draws on an entangled understanding of memory production in order to disentangle the social relations and identities that are mobilized in national memorial projects. I define entangled memory in two ways: (1) it refers to the interlinking of dominant memory and oppositional forms in the public sphere (Popular Memory Group 1998); (2) it is multidirectional in that the subjects and spaces of public memory are defined not only by a competition of victimhood but also as a product of influence and exchange (Rothberg 2009). This framework allows me to argue that the genocide of the Sinti and Roma – historically forgotten victims – is gradually gaining a foothold in the German national imaginary via the dominant status of the memorial to the Jewish victims. In turn, the positioning of the memorial dedicated to Jewish victims has been and continues to be influenced by the commemorative activities of other victim groups. German state legislation in 2009 to link up the memorials dedicated to Jewish, Sinti and Roma as well as homosexual victims – the country’s three national memorials – under one administrative roof is a recent example of an emergent memorial network in the country’s commemorative politics. It is here, I conclude, in the New Berlin’s geographic, symbolic, virtual and cartographic spaces of national memory that we are seeing increasing forms of recognition and integration of historically marginalized groups.|
|Appears in Collections:||Doctoral|
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