[New] (Preserving Memory The Struggle to Create America's Holocaust Museum) by Edward Tabor Linenthal
Edward Tabor Linenthal ã 2 Read
Nts made along the lines of my people s suffering is worth than your people s suffering For example the Romani argued for their inclusion in the museum as eual to the Jewish population because they too were singled out for destruction ust like they were And then you get into the issue of euality of suffering which is Falling For Him just so twisted and dark and so very hard to watch people grappling with I both understood what people were going through trying to understand the experience and make it meaningful for themselves and was repulsed by what turned into a weird competition for bragging rights about who suffered the most at times There are emotional appeals from all sides and Linenthal does a very goodob of showing how hard it must have been to deal with all these objections from all sides while trying to state coherently what this museum was and what it was notThen there was the whole issue of what is the museum for is it for merely the memory of the victims or does it mean to serve as a warning to speak of genocide and try to help show a moral imperative to prevent it in the world If it is the latter then shouldn t we be willing to share the museum with other instances of genocide to show that it continues to occur today There was a heartbreaking issue with the Armenians who begged for a place any place in the museum for someone to support them in their uest to have the genocide of their own people remembered and legitimized As one Armenian representative put it If you won t support us who will And you know why they didn t include them except for one uote by Hitler about the Armenians This was one of the twisted parts of the book 1 a lot of people didn t want to share the museum with other instances of genocide seriously people made a slippery slope argument along the lines of well if you include the Armenians where does it end Do we include every genocide in the world To which I say sure why not but that s a different argument and 2 the state of Israel yes the state that bases part of its reason for existence on the Holocaust that lea This is another book from my graduate school s reuired reading list It deals with the fifteen year ourney to create the American Holocaust Museum I have visited the museum once many years ago but it definitely left a lasting impression I think many schools make a point of visiting this museum and rightly so This behind the scenes book is absolutely fascinating It is straightforward and very illuminating Clearly written and very engaging I would be interested in hearing feedback on this book from the key players involved Elie Wiesel s role surprised me in this And I do wish that there had been of a push to include on the first stages of this slaughter with hospitals care facilities and asylums an aspect that is often overlooked The sterilization projects weren t even mentioned here The exclusionary tone of the museum itself surprised me and I really didn t expect victims to snipe and minimize one another rather than banding together tightly I think that this will definitely lead to an interesting class discussion I read this book before working at USHMM and then a few years after I had been there once I knew the people involved Linenthal really explains the background of planning designing and building a Holocaust museum in the US and all the difficulties political and otherwise involved When I worked at USHMM I always encouraged people to read it because the context of the building and its place on the Natl Mall and in national consciousness plus the debates and struggles that went into making it are fundamental to the museum itself I love this book I usually love Linenthal he seems to have a gift for communicating historical controversies and how they play out in a museum setting However this book was all over the place He ust rambled emphasized the same two issues over and over and had a lot of trouble keeping any sort of structure to this account Maybe he would have been better off consolidating this into a long essay. Lively honest behind the scenes account details the emotionally complex fifteen year struggle surrounding the museum's birth.
Ial have been well attended since its opening with over 5 million people a majority of them non Jews visiting in two years In Preserving Memory Edward T Linenthal a professor of religious studies at the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh narrates the fascinating story of the creation of the memorial to the victims of the European Holocaust Based on extensive interviews with the many key players involved in creating the Museum he examines the tense and creative interplay between the memory of the European genocide and the dictates of American pluralism the sensibilities of Jews and those of other ethnic groups as well as Jewish and Christian advocates of remembrance and US politicians committed to realpolitikThe Politics of RememberingLinenthal begins his study with an overview of the pl Linenthal s take on how Holocaust history was produced and protected or challenged by various stakeholders in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is informative His assertion that The Holocaust offers America a particular kind of redemption narrative that serves national needs regarding the re visioning of our role in WWII is compelling However he doesn t fully explore the history that redemption narratives allow us to avoid ie the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Admittedly this would fall outside the scope of his book Still this seems like the unacknowledged shadow This book gives the reader a great insight into how the Holocaust Museum in DC was conceived and created It s amazing how much thought went into every minute detail of this structure and it s permanent exhibition Because of the subject matter it was a Museum that could not fail because of the millions of people they hoped to honor One cannot visit this Museum without being moved and to discover how it began and how it was set in motion is truly an eye opening read If there s something we can all get together on it should probably be that the Holocaust sucked and we should both remember and respect that Right So you would think As it turns out it isn t exactly entirely that simpleIn creating America s Holocaust Museum all of the above things were considered But as Linenthal explains there were a lot of issues defining exactly what all of those things meant Linenthal describes the evolution of the museum from its beginning mandate during the Carter administration touched off by Carter needing to balance out his sympathies to the Palestinians with some gesture towards the Jewish community through the various stages of forming the committee that conceptualized the museum the arguments over that concept and the people included the process of locating the museum in Washington getting a design deciding on its orientation and most importantly what would and what would not be included in the final museum especially what would be included in the permanent exhibitThe majority of the book is spent on essentially one uestion and its different aspects What exactly was the Holocaust most importantly Who do we count as victims of the Holocaust who deserves a place there What is the purpose of this museum who is it for and rising off of that uestion How do we portray the events for a diverse American audience in an American museum on the National Mall Just to deal with the biggest things that stayed with meThe biggest controversy was about defining who exactly were victims of the Holocaust and where one draws the line Was it the 6 million Jewish people who were killed only Did it include the 5 million others If it was all 11 million how should that be expressed Should the museum have a Jewish core with all others reeling out from the Jewish experience Was the Holocaust museum to focus on those persecuted by the Nazis throughout their time in power or should it expand to other examples of Holocaust Are there other examples of Holocaust or is this a uniue event that would be diminished by comparison There were apparently many conversations on the museum s overseeing council to this effect and some really sick comme. The rate of 10000 a day each of whom has walked away with an indelible impression of awe in the face of the unimaginable This.
This is an extensive overview of the process of creating the Holocaust Museum I am really glad I didn t read this back in the fall when it was first suggested to me because knowing something about exhibit design and development makes this infinitely interesting I imagine large portions could be dry and boring if I didn t have a sense of context and perspective It s fascinating to see what happens when budget is essentially unlimited and politics are the dominant force There s a range of stories here from the debate over the building s location to its design to exactly what story they are trying to tell I even enjoyed all the time spent on the minute details of the council formation and creating definitions it really shows how insanely complicated a project this was I wish it had been annotated effectively and it was hard to keep track of the dozens of people involved with no help from the author but this is a great peek into an extreme example of museum logistics Informative and interesting Can t say much yet as for any political bias in Linenthal s presentation of the events leading up to the opening of the Holocaust Memorial Museum but this certainly allowed me to appreciate the amount of planning discussion contention revision and politicalphilosophical struggle that went into the creation of this place Particularly fascinating was the chapter on the process of deciding which Holocaust artifacts to include and how to use them to tell what kind of story As Linenthal suggests any telling of the Holocaust will be necessarily incomplete and this book is an well written account of one museum s attempt at that telling Linenthal s book is a near perfect work of public historical analysis He is sensitive to every nuance of his subject matter from the problem of narrative a drive toward redemption or at least satisfying closure to an acknowledgment of museum staff as stakeholder and the utmost importance of physical context to the work of museum exhibition development I keep hoping that Linenthal will tackle the building of the 911 Memorial Museum I m not sure another scholar could do it ustice Edward T Linenthal Preserving Memory The Struggle to Create America s Holocaust Museum New York Penguin USA 1995 2795 USA 3699 CanadaFirst published in The EcumenistThroughout this spring there have been several solemn commemorations marking the 50 years since the liberation of the Nazi death camps In January contention marked the Polish government s ceremonies of the Soviet liberation of the most notorious camp Auschwitz Birkenau Jewish groups contended that Lech Walesa s government down played the essential Jewish dimension of the massive suffering and death at Auschwitz Serving as President Bill Clinton s representative Nobel Peace Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel tried to impress upon public consciousness the distinction he had long defended that not all the victims were Jews but all the Jews were victims A separate service was held at Auschwitz Birkenau for Jewish survivors there Wiesel urged that all present pray to God not to have mercy for those who created this place Survivors like Wiesel have long feared both an ever encroaching Holocaust revisionism as well as their own approaching mortality Testifiers such as themselves will not be around much longer to dismiss first hand the obscenities of the neo Nazi nay sayers From the survivors point of view then direct attacks on the Holocaust s historicity only increases the urgency of recent efforts to institutionalize the memory of the Holocaust While the remains of the concentration camps themselves have often been pilgrimage sites for international tourists Jewish communities all over the world as well as governments in Germany and Poland have erected monuments and memorials to the victims After years of struggle and debate the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum finally opened in April 1993 in Washington DC Though it focuses on one of the darkest chapters in human history the museum and memor. Since its first year in 1993 the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has attracted than 15 millino visitors sometimes at.
New (Preserving Memory The Struggle to Create America's Holocaust Museum) by Edward Tabor Linenthal
Edward Linenthal is a Professor of History and Religious Studies at Indiana University Bloomington