Memorials and Museums

James E. Young

in The Oxford Handbook of Holocaust Studies

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199211869
Published online January 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

Memorials and Museums

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This article focuses on Holocaust memorial histories and debates in Germany, Poland, Israel, and the United States. Holocaust memorials and museums provide spaces and occasions that represent the Holocaust in their own distinctive ways. Public memorialization of the Holocaust era began early, with every affected group remembering its own fate. The more events of World War II and the Holocaust recede in time, the more prominent museums and memorials about them become. As survivors have struggled to bequeath memory of their experiences to the next generations and governments have sought to unify disparate polities with ‘common’ national narratives, a veritable ‘Holocaust memorial and museums boom’ has occurred. Since 1990, hundreds of museums and institutions have been established worldwide to remember and tell the history of Nazi Germany's destruction of the European Jews. Depending on who builds these memorials and museums and where, they recollect this past according to particular national myths, ideals, and political needs. At a more specific level, these museums also reflect the temper of the memory-artists' time, their architects' schools of design, and their physical locations in national memorial landscapes.

Keywords: Holocaust; public memorialization; Germany; Poland; Israel; United States

Article.  7100 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Religious Studies ; Religious Buildings ; Judaism and Jewish Studies ; History of Religion

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