Introduction: Memory Passages
Chapter One: East and West Germany in the Postwar Years: Will Lammert and Gerson Fehrenbach
Chapter One analyzes the ways in which postwar attitudes in both countries coalesced around specific memorials. Will Lammert’s Burdened Woman (1959) demonstrates that while the GDR struggled to memorialize the Holocaust and relied on Christian themes disguised as socialist ideals in works of art, Lammert returned to expressionism to memorialize the dead. The Münchener Strasse Synagogue Monument (then West Berlin, 1963) was commissioned by the Schöne-berg Borough Assembly. It is dedicated to the destruction of that synagogue on Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass; when thousands of synagogues and Jewish businesses were destroyed), but the language on the accompanying plaque is vague and speaks to the difficulty of addressing the destruction in an outright way.
Chapter Two: A Forgotten Memorial and Philadelphia’s Survivors: Nathan Rapoport’s Monument to the Six Million Martyrs (1964)
Chapter Two addresses an early public monument to the Holocaust in North America that has been all but absent in the literature. A close examination of archives demonstrates the ways in which survivors bonded together in the postwar years to ensure the lasting memory of the six million Jewish Holocaust victims. In 1961 the Philadelphia Holocaust Memorial Committee commissioned sculptor Nathan Rapoport, the sculptor of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Monument (1948) and Yad Vashem’s Wall of Remembrance (1976), to create a sculpture dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust.
A version of this chapter was previously published in the Journal of Jewish Identities.
Chapter Three: Monuments to Deported Jews in Hamburg (Hrdlicka, Rückreim, and Kahl) and East Berlin (Will Lammert) A version of this chapter was previously published Chapter Three: Monuments to Deported Jews in Hamburg (Hrdlicka, Rückreim, and Kahl) and East Berlin (Will Lammert)
This chapter presents memorials in the GDR and the FRG. In the GDR, Will Lammert originally designed the figures in what is now known as the Monument to the Deported Jews in Berlin (1985) as part of the Ravensbrück monument (see Chapter 1). The Ravensbrück commission, however, rejected these figures. Nonetheless, the Lammert family cast the sculptures in bronze and put them into storage. In 1985, the artist’s grandson installed them in Mitte, Berlin, at a time when the GDR was rethinking this neighborhood as worthy of retaining its original architectural features—as well as its Jewish past. Known as the Memorial to Victims of Fascism in 1985, the sculptural group came to be known as Monument to the Deported Jews in the 1990s, after unification, when “victims of Fascism” no longer resonated in unified Germany.
Meanwhile, in the FRG, monuments in Hamburg Dammtor attempt to address the National Socialist past but stylistically fall short of their goals: one monument was never completed, another is easily overlooked, and the third often is overgrown with weeds. Nonetheless, grassroots organizing for the monuments demonstrates the commitment of the neighborhood to confront the past.
A version of this chapter was previously published in Images: A Journal of Jewish Arts and Culture.
Chapter Four: Memorial Functions: Shapiro, Kelly, LeWitt, and Serra at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (1993)
Works by Joel Shapiro, Ellsworth Kelly, Sol LeWitt, and Richard Serra are the focus of this chapter, which explains the historical context of the commissions and the fact that, in 1993, a visual language with which to address the Holocaust had not yet been developed in the United States. Analyses of previous works of art by the artists that address the Holocaust, and the ways in which the works’ interact with the architecture of the building, add to the literature on this museum.
Chapter Five: Walking Through Stelae: Peter Eisenman’s Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (2005)
This internationally-recognized memorial is presented through the lens of sculptor Richard Serra’s input into the original model (the artist withdrew his participation in the project). The memorial became a watershed in Holocaust memorialization, especially for its vast field of stelae that provides spaces to walk, encouraging disorientation and individual memory work. I turn to Michel de Certeau and Henri Bergson to theorize memory and perambulation.
Conclusion: Andy Goldsworthy: Nature and Memory at the New York Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial
This chapter investigates the role of natural materials in a memorial by an environmental artist. The MJH in New York City is dedicated to Jewish life before, during, and after the Holocaust and seeks to tell the history of American Jewry in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries through the eyes of those who lived it. Goldsworthy’s Garden of Stones represents a departure in Holocaust memorial making by introducing natural materials that change over time. I analyze the work as a “social sculpture” by interpreting it through the lens of Joseph Beuys and his 1982 project, Aktion 7000 Eichen (Action 7,000 Oaks, commonly referred to as 7,000 Oaks), thereby highlighting the memorial’s role in engaging the viewer and promoting healing for survivors.