Holocaust Memory Reframed: Museums and the Challenges of Representation by Jennifer Hansen-GlucklichHolocaust Memory Reframed: Museums and the Challenges of Representation by Jennifer Hansen-Glucklich

Holocaust Memory Reframed: Museums and the Challenges of Representation

byJennifer Hansen-Glucklich

Paperback | March 1, 2014

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Holocaust memorials and museums face a difficult task as their staffs strive to commemorate and document horror. On the one hand, the events museums represent are beyond most people’s experiences.  At the same time they are often portrayed by theologians, artists, and philosophers in ways that are already known by the public. Museum administrators and curators have the challenging role of finding a creative way to present Holocaust exhibits to avoid clichéd or dehumanizing portrayals of victims and their suffering.

In Holocaust Memory Reframed, Jennifer Hansen-Glucklich examines representations in three museums: Israel’s Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Germany’s Jewish Museum in Berlin, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. She describes a variety of visually striking media, including architecture, photography exhibits, artifact displays, and video installations in order to explain the aesthetic techniques that the museums employ. As she interprets the exhibits, Hansen-Glucklich clarifies how museums communicate Holocaust narratives within the historical and cultural contexts specific to Germany, Israel, and the United States. In Yad Vashem, architect Moshe Safdie developed a narrative suited for Israel, rooted in a redemptive, Zionist story of homecoming to a place of mythic geography and renewal, in contrast to death and suffering in exile. In the Jewish Museum in Berlin, Daniel Libeskind’s architecture, broken lines, and voids emphasize absence. Here exhibits communicate a conflicted ideology, torn between the loss of a Jewish past and the country’s current multicultural ethos. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum presents yet another lens, conveying through its exhibits a sense of sacrifice that is part of the civil values of American democracy, and trying to overcome geographic and temporal distance. One well-know example, the pile of thousands of shoes plundered from concentration camp victims encourages the visitor to bridge the gap between viewer and victim.  

Hansen-Glucklich explores how each museum’s concept of the sacred shapes the design and choreography of visitors’ experiences within museum spaces. These spaces are sites of pilgrimage that can in turn lead to rites of passage.
 JENNIFER HANSEN-GLUCKLICH teaches German language and literature in the department of Modern Foreign Languages at the University of Mary Washington.  
Title:Holocaust Memory Reframed: Museums and the Challenges of RepresentationFormat:PaperbackDimensions:280 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:March 1, 2014Publisher:Rutgers University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0813563232

ISBN - 13:9780813563237

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Editorial Reviews

"For centuries, museums have cared for collections of artistic, cultural, historical, and scientifically important artifacts. They have enlightened a public on broad aspects of humanity's achievement. Holocaust museums do not fit this inherently positive definition. Their role, rather, is to commemorate, represent, evoke, and document a past of horror. In this elegantly written and structured book, Hansen-Glucklich focuses on three distinct museums: that at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, the Jewish Museum in Berlin, and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC. Essential."