Remembering the Victims of Nazism; a Visit to Seven Memorials 

Remembering the Victims of Nazism; a Visit to Seven Memorials 

Remembering-the-Victims-of-Nazism-2This 3 hour walk focuses on the range of people and groups that met violent oppression and death at the hands of the Nazis—Jews, the Romany, the mentally and physically disabled, homosexuals, intellectuals, political opponents of the Reich and resistance fighters.  By visiting all seven of Berlin’s memorials to the Nazi’s victims, many of which are practically unknown by comparison with the memorial to the European Jews, will enable us to learn more about the persecution of each group while also exploring the political and ideological dynamics that have influenced the ultimate status accorded to different groups in Germany’s evolving view of its past history and the manifestation of these complex considerations in sculpture in Berlin’s topography.

Remembering-the-Victims-of-Nazism-4Summarizing the heated debates that raged over decades regarding the creation of these seven monuments also allows you to participate personally in considering thorny questions of how communities assign or acknowledge guilt, or designate levels of victimization to various groups, or attempt to create places and rituals of remembrance and education.  At the end of the walk we can reflect on the problematic aspects of memorialization and try to judge for ourselves whether various monuments meet our own criteria as fitting remembrances for victims of Nazi violence. Or do we feel it even appropriate to criticize memorials for the fallen?  Even while the Holocaust Memorial is today one of the most well-visited sites in Berlin, why did it take until as recently as 2005 to construct it? Are there even now victims who are not appropriately honored and memorialized? By way of conclusion, we visit the Museum to the German Resistance and peruse its permanent exhibition, while continuing to discuss the politics of curating historical memory, mass communal grief and national redemption.

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Joep de Visser recently completely an MA in German History at the University of Amsterdam. Due to his fairly extensive weblog about memorials and historical locations in Berlin, Joep is very up-to-date about the past of his new Heimat. In the upcoming year, Joep plans to write a historical novel that fleshes out the shocking changes that transformed Berlin's daily life during the first half of the 20th century. In his side-project--History of Hipsters--, he explores the phenomenon of today's alternative youth culture.
f4Fabiola Bierhoff is an art historian and PhD Candidate in the History and Cultural Studies program at the Free University of Berlin. She received her Bachelor in Art History at Radboud University Nijmegen in 2006 and holds a Masters in Museum Curatorship summa cum laude from the Free University of Amsterdam. Her Master Thesis on the alternative East German art scene was awarded the Annual Master Thesis Award 2010. Since 2009 she has been an art writer for the bimonthly magazine De Witte Raaf. Fabiola is currently conducting research for her dissertation, which is provisionally entitled “The Role of Autonomous Art Criticism for Performance Art in the Last Decade of the German Democratic Republic”. Her research is funded by a scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and a research grant from the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds.
Jean UlrickJean-Ulrick Désert is a conceptual and visual-artist. He received his degrees at Cooper Union and Columbia University (New York) and has lectured or been a critic at Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Humboldt University and l’école supérieur des beaux arts. Désert's artworks vary in forms such as billboards, actions, paintings, site-specific sculptures, video and objects and emerge from a tradition of conceptual-work engaged with social/cultural practices. He has exhibited widely at such venues as The Brooklyn Museum, Cité Internationale des Arts, The NGBK in galleries and public venues in Munich, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Ghent, Brussels. He is the recipient of awards, public commissions, private philanthropy, including Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (USA), Villa Waldberta/Muenchen - Kulturreferat , Kulturstiftung der Länder (Germany) and Cité des Arts (France). Désert established his Berlin studio in 2002.
f3Peter Bijl, born-Dutchman, originally a journalist, has been the initiator/driving force behind different cultural festivals, websites, platforms and exchange projects. After moving back to Berlin in 2008, the city that had gotten under his skin profoundly, he's been doing this internationally. In Utrecht he put up the 9-day Berlin festival Mitte Bitte!, in Berlin he initiated a similar 12-day program of Dutch/Flemish culture: Flachlandfest. Both festivals took place in 2008 and were initiated, developed, financed and produced in only a few months time. As a curator / artistic director, Peter’s highlight was the city-wide manifestation 'No Man’s Land'. A multidisciplinary weekend in November 2009 at 40+ locations in Utrecht, celebrating and commenting the 20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall: a festival as a work of art, using space, creativity and personal stories in different disciplines to tell Berlin’s incredible story. In ‘No Man’s Land’ Peter let Berlin’s heavy history interact with its light and creative present, via the red thread of personal stories. After realizing these festivals, Peter moved on to connecting cultures and stories in a different way: by joining musician Tjerk Ridder in his Caravan Hitchhiking Project. Hitchhiking with a caravan, without(!) a car: the duo traveled Europe, from Utrecht to Istanbul, showing that 'You need others to keep you going'. Their art project had a large international appeal, with national tv reports in 8 European countries. Out of their journey, Peter and Tjerk created and published a book/DVD, which has been published in Dutch, English and German. A new book, a playful photo project on football culture, is on the way.
Jerof2en van Marle is a geographer and travel writer from the Netherlands, who has lived in Berlin for 5 years. He has lived in 8 countries across the world, writing about dozens of destinations. He's the editor of a Berlin city guide that's published several times per year. A resident of Kreuzberg since 2011, he is fascinated by the varied history of this young district.
f1Madelief ter Braak is architectural historian and freelance writer/journalist. In 2011 she graduated cum laude with a Research Master Art History & Archaeology from the University of Groningen (the Netherlands). Fascinated by urban public space, she focuses on the use and representation of this everchanging aspect of the city in the past, present and future. In her research and writing she’s guided by unconventional sources in art, photography, literature, poetry, films and music. Cross-cultural interests and curiosity have led to several publications in very diverse (online) magazines. For Blauwe Kamer magazine on landscape development and urbanism, she writes the column ‘Standplaats Berlijn’. On her research she’s given lectures at the School of Architecture Groningen, the TU Delft and the Art historian Institute from the University of Groningen. Her masterthesis Flanieren in Berlin is written as a journey across east and west, in times of dictatorship and democracy.