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On Commemoration

Global Reflections upon Remembering War

Edited By Catherine Gilbert, Kate McLoughlin and Niall Munro

How, in the twenty-first century, can we do commemoration better? In particular, how can commemoration contribute to post-war reconciliation and reconstruction? In this book, a global roster of distinguished writers, artists, musicians, religious leaders, military veterans and scholars debate these questions and ponder the future of commemoration. They include the world-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tony Horwitz, the award-winning novelists Aminatta Forna and Rachel Seiffert, and the human rights lawyer and Gifford Baillie Prize-winner Philippe Sands. Polemics and reflections together with poetry and creative prose movingly illuminate a subject that speaks to our common humanity.

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Returning from Europe, Reflections on Post-War Commemoration (John Dunston)

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john dunston

John Dunston, educator and choir director, describes instances from Germany, France and Romania of the extraordinary commemorative power of listed names.

With our signatures below, we accept the public requirement that with immediate effect, we are not permitted to appear on the street or in other public places between the hours of…

And so it began. In the first week of September 1939, the members of the Lipschitz family in Augsburg acknowledged officially that there was, now, no place for them in the public sphere of the city that had been their home for generations. What was to follow in the ensuing weeks, months and years is only too well known, though I only learned about this particular family in July 2018. On the ground floor of the magnificent Town Hall, completed in 1624, a room has been set aside in memory of the Jewish citizens of Augsburg, deported to their deaths in the Holocaust. The names of each one are recorded with a quiet dignity, engraved simply on glass panels, individuals, whole families. Without any notice requesting or requiring it, the room is silent. The names themselves say all there is to be said.

Not so far away, in the town of Landshut, also in Bavaria, the warm sun shines this week in 2018, bringing the handsomely restored renaissance, ←295 | 296→baroque and classical buildings of the Old Town beautifully to life. The tower of St Martin’s Church, begun...

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