Beyond the Holocaust Paradigm? Archaeology of Memory and Terrorscape Archaeology

Activity: Lecture / PresentationAcademic


Beyond the Holocaust Paradigm?
Archaeology of Memory and Terrorscape Archaeology
AAC research meeting by prof. dr. Rob van der Laarse (Westerbork Chair on War Heritage)
The devastating horrors of two World Wars have for the last six decades stimulated a unique process of European unification. After decades of a heroic remembrance of military occupation and resistance in most Western and Eastern European nations, war heritage and memory has almost completely been determined by the Holocaust paradigm. Yet, as Rob van der Laarse will argue, the assumption of the Holocaust as a common European experience, and hence as a basic part of Europe’s postwar identity raises some critical objections. Firstly, the Holocaust paradigm is currently challenged by a deep incompatibility of opinions about the impact, interpretation and meaning of the persecution of the Jews and other victims of Nazi and Communist terror, and secondly it is competed by the rise of a post-1989 Occupation paradigm in Eastern Europe. Interestingly, archaeology plays a prominent role in this dynamic of memory. This may seem self-evident, as archaeologists are digging for truth and authentic traces, but archaeology has never been an innocent discipline. This accounts also for the war period itself, during which the first excavation of mass graves already started as pivotal in ideological propaganda. This ‘heritaging’ of the past asks for a transnational rethinking of the archaeology of terrorscapes.
University of Amsterdam
University Library, Doelenzaal
Singel 425
1012 WP Amsterdam
Published by Faculty of Humanities
Period2 Apr 2013
Event titleAAC Research Meeting
Event typeLecture