Conference Abstracts

Accepted abstract for Social History Society - Space and Places (March 2013, University of Leeds)

‘Landscapes of memory’ an investigation of Holocaust Memorials and their relation to spaces in Europe.

As the direct result of field trips and post doctoral research conducted for the University of Leeds this paper will address various issues surrounding memorials dedicated to the Holocaust in Poland, Berlin, Hungary and the UK.  The countries represent a cross section of experiences including victims, perpetrators and liberators.  I wish to explore the influence of politics on the framework, form and narrative of the memorials (such as Post cold-war remembrance in former soviet countries).  I will also address issues surrounding whether the memorial is specific or unique to the site and atrocity it is commemorating and the impact of this on the visitors experience and understanding. 

The effect of the memorial on individual and/or collective memory will be investigated and therefore how a sense of place informs collective memory, also how the memorial can influence personal responses.

In response to this particular conference strand I propose exploring how landscape shapes historical relations and how place and experience intertwine especially at sites such as; former concentration and death camps (Treblinka and Sachsenhausen), Gestapo Headquarters (Szucha Avenue, Warsaw) and sites of execution such as Kampinos Forest in Poland and the Danube river in Budapest.

I also wish to develop a methodology and theoretical framework which explores the relation of the perpetrators depriving victims of their personal space through appropriation of property, ghettoes, transportations, imprisonment and gas chambers, and whether this is reflected through form, style or use of space on the sites that commemorate and memorialise these events.