Museum-Cemetery: (Infra)Structural Violence Against Human Remains
Schlagworte:Holocaust, memorials, museum-cemetery, human remains, necroviolence, infrastructural violence, abandonment
In this paper, I investigate Polish memorial sites and museums established at former Nazi extermination camps, defined by the presence of human remains of their Jewish victims, through a conceptual prism of museum-cemetery. Museum-cemetery is construed here as a concept (an analytic category), a practice, and a dynamic cultural/political space, extending to include the burial sites curated by the memorial institutions. In my reading, museum-cemetery is a transformative and politically productive infrastructure that instantiates a material and spatial articulation of hierarchies and social norms as well as one of structural violence, and a complex politics of dead bodies. Acknowledging that not only living bodies but also those of the dead are subject to sovereign power, through various social and material practices, I argue that museums and memorial sites partake in the production and undoing of the dead. But they are also carriers of necroviolence: violence against human remains. Analysing the post-war history of Polish sites of memory at former Nazi extermination camps and the practices and infrastructural transformations that arise around them – including robbery of the dead, archaeological research, work on commemoration, musealization – I discuss the forms of necroviolence that affect dead bodies, from immediate physical violence to violence of abandonment.
Copyright (c) 2023 Österreichische Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaften
Dieses Werk steht unter der Lizenz Creative Commons Namensnennung 4.0 International.