- Signs of the Shoah: The Hollandsche Schouwburg as a site of memory
- Award date
- 28 June 2016
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School for Heritage and Memory Studies (AHM)
This dissertation investigates the postwar development of the Hollandsche Schouwburg, an in situ Shoah memorial museum in Amsterdam, within the fields of memory, heritage and museum studies. During World War II, over forty-six thousand Jews were imprisoned in this former theater before being deported to the transit camps. In 1962, it became the first national Shoah memorial of the Netherlands and in 1993, a small exhibition was added. In the spring of 2016, the National Holocaust Museum opened, which consists of the Hollandsche Schouwburg and a new satellite space across the street.
This dissertation deals with the question how this site of painful heritage became an important memorial museum dedicated to the memory of the persecution of the Dutch Jews. I argue that this former theater was not a site of oblivion before 1962 but rather a material reminder of the persecution of the Jews which at that time was not an articulated part of the hegemonic memory discourse of the war in the Netherlands. The memorial was gradually appropriated by important Jewish institutions through the installment of Yom HaShoah, an educational exhibition and a wall of names. These are analyzed not by focusing on material authenticity, but instead a case is made for latent indexicality: visitors actively produce narratives by searching for traces of the past. This entails an ongoing creative process of meaning-making that allows sites of memory to expand and proliferate beyond their borders. An important question therefore is how the Hollandsche Schouwburg affects its direct surroundings.
- For copyright reasons, some illustrations have been blacked out in the thesis downloads.
Thesis (complete) (Embargo up to and including 28 June 2018)
Prologue (Embargo up to and including 28 June 2018)
Chapter 1: The dynamics of sites of memory (Embargo up to and including 28 June 2018)
Chapter 2: The construction of an in situ memorial site: Framing painful heritage (Embargo up to and including 28 June 2018)
Chapter 3: The performance of memory: The making of a memorial museum (Embargo up to and including 28 June 2018)
Chapter 4: The fragmented memorial museum: Indexicality and self-inscription (Embargo up to and including 28 June 2018)
Chapter 5: The proliferation of spatial memory: Borders, façades and dwellings (Embargo up to and including 28 June 2018)
Epilogue (Embargo up to and including 28 June 2018)