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Constructing Memory

Architectural Narratives of Holocaust Museums

Stephanie Rotem

This book reveals the critical role of architecture in the assimilation of the ideologies and values conveyed at Holocaust museums around the world. Through the architectural analysis of sixteen museums, social, cultural and political agendas will be unfolded.
While the distance in time and place raises the need to create innovative forms of display to reach an audience removed from the Holocaust, the degree to which this can be done by the museums’ exhibits alone is limited. This book shows that architecture, as an abstract form of expression, plays a major role in the conception of Holocaust museums. By conveying values that cannot otherwise be expressed, the museums’ architecture becomes integral to its narrative and, through it, to the construction of collective memories of the Holocaust.


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I would like to express my gratitude to the people and organizations that contributed to the completion of this book. I want to thank the Strochlitz Institute for Holocaust Research at Haifa University, and the Yoran-Sznycer Foundation for their generous financial support. I truly appreciate the time and effort of the following people, whom I interviewed throughout my work on this project: Tula Amir, Nili Amit, Vered Bar-Somech, Hagy Belzberg, Aya Ben-Naftali, Helmuth Braun, Batia Donner, Meira Efrat-Kowalsky, Rick Hischhaut, Irit Kochavi, István Mányi, Judith Martinkovits, David Marwell, Mark Mucasey, Susan Myers, Rita Nagy, Kevin Roche, Mark Rothman, Gunter Schulsche, Bina Sela-Zur, Avner Shalev, Yaffa Shimroni, Joe Smith, Stanley Tigerman, Tsipy Zeiri, Luca Zevi, and Michael Zisk. I am deeply indebted to Prof Hanna Scolnicov, the supervisor of my PhD thesis upon which this book is based, whose stimulating suggestions and critique helped me throughout the research and writing of this project. I would also like to thank Prof Hannah Naveh, the Dean of the David and Yolanda Katz Faculty of the Arts at Tel Aviv University, for her continuous encouragement and support, and Prof Anat Zanger, for allowing me to follow the advancement of her own book and learn so much from it. Other colleagues and friends that have offered help, support, interest and valuable hints are Mooli Brog, Bracha El-Hasid Grummer, Edith Naveh, Paul Rosenblatt, and Tsippi Tal. I would like to thank Naomi Paz for her meticulous copy-editing and my editor Raffael von Niederhäusern...

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