Holocaust Memorials in the United States and GermanyNatasha Goldman
For decades, artists and architects have struggled to relate to the Holocaust in visual form, resulting in memorials that feature a diversity of aesthetic strategies. In Memory Passages, Natasha Goldman analyzes both previously-overlooked and internationally-recognized Holocaust memorials in the United States and Germany from the postwar period to the present, drawing on many historical documents for the first time. From the perspectives of visual culture and art history, the book examines changing attitudes toward the Holocaust and the artistic choices that respond to it.
The book introduces lesser-known sculptures, such as Nathan Rapoport’s Monument to the Six Million Jewish Martyrs in Philadelphia, as well as internationally-acclaimed works, such as Peter Eisenman’s Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin. Other artists examined include Will Lammert, Richard Serra, Joel Shapiro, Gerson Fehrenbach, Margrit Kahl, and Andy Goldsworthy. Archival documents and interviews with commissioners, survivors, and artists reveal the conversations and decisions that have shaped Holocaust memorials.
Memory Passages suggests that memorial designers challenge visitors to navigate and activate spaces to engage with history and memory by virtue of walking or meandering. This book will be valuable for anyone teaching—or seeking to better understand—the Holocaust.
“ Goldman’s Memory Passages builds beautifully on the considerable body of work on Holocaust memorialization in the U.S. and Germany, refining others’ approaches into what she calls her focus on ‘the visual field’ of these works. Its special strengths include Goldman’s theorizing of ‘walking and memory,’ the inclusion of relatively understudied memorials, and her thorough approach to their cultural, historical, and aesthetic contexts. This book will be welcomed by all with an interest in Holocaust memorialization.” —James E. Young, Distinguished University Professor of English and Judaic Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and the author of At Memory’s Edge: After-Images of the Holocaust in Contemporary Art and Architecture
“ Goldman’s insightful study is unique in that it takes a focused, comparative approach to Holocaust memorials in the United States and Germany. Her understanding of the running theme of perambulation serves as a newer mode to interpret several memorials. Memory Passages is especially interesting in its discussion of the intersection of Holocaust education, communal concerns, and the role of survivors and the memorials in question. Goldman’s sharp art historical eye and her strong grasp of trauma theory help flesh out the meanings of the works and make apt connections to the larger public art scene.”—Samantha Baskind, Professor of Art History at Cleveland State University and author of Jewish Artists and the Bible in Twentieth-Century America
" Goldman’s book offers an engaging account into early and lesser researched memorials dedicated to the Holocaust in pre-and post-unification Germany and in the United States.... Among the book’s strengths is the author’s careful description and interpretation of works of public art.... Goldman’s approach is comprehensive.... (T)he author’s take on walking as a form of embodied remembering brings a fresh interpretation to the memorials as spaces of dynamic interaction rather than as static sculptural forms to be looked at only.... The study is a welcome contribution to the field of Holocaust memorials and a must-read for anyone interested in this subject."
—Journal of Contemporary History
"(Goldman) balances the analysis of the visual form and stylistic evolution of these (Holocaust) memorials from figurative to conceptualist, with a particularly interesting in-depth analysis of the societal and political context in which they were created.... (E)xcellently researched, full of rich historic detail.... (T)his book provides great insight into the history of Holocaust memorials, as well as and perhaps most relevantly for social scientists, the relationship between collective and embodied memory and the visual form."
" Goldman’s new book explores the largely forgotten sites of Holocaust memory that have been somewhat eclipsed by other better-known sites.... Perhaps most important and original in her study is its
attention to the design process of these seemingly forgotten memorials. By attending carefully to their stages of conceptualization, Goldman makes visible the compromises artists have had to make in order to satisfy commissioning bodies.... She makes a strong case for the necessity of visitors, visitors who feel invited to walk through them and reflect, visitors without whom these memorials would once again be forgotten."
—Holocaust and Genocide Studies
" This is a very interesting and informative work describing and comparing the gradual evolution of ideas for memorial sites in Germany and in the United States.... This book would be of use in academic libraries with significant collections on the Holocaust.."
—Association of Jewish Libraries newsletter