Holocaust Memory and Education for the 21st Century
The history of genocide stirs a range of responses, from “Never Again” to “again and again.” Often difficult to define and establish, claims of genocide must be corroborated by evidence and testimony presented to international criminal courts of law. Teaching the history of the Holocaust, a genocide of unimaginable proportions, aligns issues of responsibility with values of tolerance.
In “Holocaust Memory and Education for the 21st Century,” I will discuss The Vienna Project (2013-2014), as an interdisciplinary memorial project commemorating the 75th year of the Anschluss, installed in 16 districts of Vienna. The Vienna Project was the first major memorial project in Austria to commemorate seven different Austrian victim groups at the same moment, who were persecuted and murdered under National Socialism, between 1938-1945. As the granddaughter of murdered victims, holding dual citizenship in Austria and the United States, I am also an artist, writer, professor in the field of education, and activist. I brought my vision for an interdisciplinary model of memorialization, featuring participatory methodologies to the country that routinely claimed to be “Hitler’s first victims.” In my presentation, I will focus on two educational components of the project’s ambitious ambit. Eleven different modules, including 38 memory sites, pubic performances, an App, guided tours, reading marathon and a naming memorial were developed to educate the public in an ongoing performance of memory.
In 2019, I returned to the Jungfernhof concentration camp, where my grandparents were deported and subsequently murdered in 1942. I am negotiating a new memorial proposal with the Latvian authorities that will be situated at the Jungfernhof site. The project will begin with. an archaeological dig of the camp site, using geospatial technologies. The dig and related findings will be developed in preparation for the creation of a new site-specific Holocaust Memorial, entitled Lock(er) of Memory.
A replicated model of the memorial, infused with augmented and X-reality technologies and video, will be installed at a nearby museum in Riga. The museum-based installation
will incorporate augmented and virtual reality technologies into its design, using object-based story-telling techniques to create dimensional testimonies of many victims’ biographies. In addition, virtual reality technologies will be coupled with the project’s innovative educational program, aimed at engaging the next generation in memory work
The project will highlight cooperation between multiple archives in Germany, the US, Austria and Israel. The project will also feature vibrant examples of collaboration between students in Riga, the US, Germany and Austria. Developed as an international project, Lock(er) of Memory is dedicated to engaging the next generation in memory preservation, while bringing fresh attention to this forgotten camp, emblematic of the many killing sites across Europe.